Monday, April 17, 2017

The real reason for residency restrictions

A Florida television station inadvertently uncovers the real reason for our nation's harsh sex offender registry laws.  

In March, WFTS-TV in Tampa reported on a dust-up between the Tampa Police Department and residents in one neighborhood who complain that the TPD isn't enforcing a county ordinance prohibiting registered sex offenders from clustering in one area.

Police officials seem to understand that the ordinance does not improve public safety...facts that are smashed to bits when they collide with the brick wall of political reality.
"There are legitimate legal and policy concerns with this ordinance," said Guzina.
He cited three states he found have ruled anti-clustering measures unconstitutional. Adding, forcing them to leave makes the community less safe.
"Legislating them into transients and homelessness undermines the very purpose of registries," said Guzina.
The detective's lengthy report full of expert statements backing up his point was cut off by council member Frank Reddick
"You can state all the quotes from the experts and all of that but its not going to solve the problem we are dealing with," said Reddick.
Council members agreed to a special workshop where they'll discuss the best solutions with all involved local agencies. They also suggested the city make its own ordinance. Chairman Mike Suarez reminded TPD, perceptions are as important as reality.
"We have to actually make them feel safe in addition to actually making them safe," said Suarez.
The "problem" of registered sex offenders clustering in certain areas could be relieved by getting rid of residency restrictions altogether. But that would run afoul of the real reason such restrictions exist...to give politicians a chance to scare up votes by making people feel safe.

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