And the media, who apparently are hard up for a story, are out in "Vigilante Style," stirring up fear and hysteria. How long have the offenders been living there? I am willing to bet, many for a long time now, and nothing happened.
By Heather Crawford
JACKSONVILLE - On Wednesday night, kids will be hitting the streets to trick or treat. As they go door to door, they may be passing the homes of sex offenders.
In Florida, there are more than 40,000 registered sex offenders, and in the Fairfield neighborhood off Talleyrand Avenue, there is a high concentration of convicted sex offenders. Within a one-mile radius of John Love Elementary School, there are more than 100 registered sex offenders and 8 predators. It's a school that has no busing, so some of the kids walk.
Marvine Poole is raising her five grandchildren in this neighborhood, and is like many residents here. She had no idea so many sex offenders and predators were close to her home.
"You just have to pray and keep them close to you. They don't understand. They want to play and go out in the neighborhood and everything," said Poole.
While the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is required to notify residents of sexual predators living in their neighborhood, the law only requires residents to be notified within 48 hours of a predator moving into the area.
If you move in after a predator, it's up to you to check online to see where they live. And while sex offender registries can be great tools, JSO said don't let them give you a false sense of security. Only those convicted since 1993 are required to register.
JSO Public Information Officer Melissa Bujeda said, "There are people who have gotten out of jail and out of prison that are convicted of sexual battery that got out prior to that law being enacted in 1993. They are not involved, they are not labeled. That's something people need to be aware of. You may be living next to someone arrested and convicted prior to that law being enacted."
In Florida, not all sex offenders are classified as predators. It depends on the conviction. Predators cannot live within 1,000 feet of a school, day care center, park, or playground. In Duval County it's even stricter. Predators can't live within 2,500 feet of those areas, but some sex offenders, depending on their conviction, don't have any restrictions.
"I am not under the 1,000 foot rule. I can live where ever I want to live."
A sex offender who agreed to talk to us if we didn't identify him was convicted of attempted sexual battery on a child in the '90s. He's now in his 60s and said he ended up in this neighborhood through a re-entry program when he was released from prison. It's a house he said used to be solely for sex offenders, until a day care opened nearby.