Loitering restrictions and other laws that create "safe zones" around schools and other places where children congregate have become more popular as an alternative to residency restrictions. But Erie and Louisville plan to discuss it in coming weeks. It begs the question: A controversial sex-offender management strategy is gaining some traction in eastern Boulder County communities.
But, he said, local and state laws don't do enough to protect children. It begs the question: Creating sex-offender-free zones became popular in after the highly publicized murder of a 9-year-old girl, Jessica Lunsford, in Florida by a sex offender who moved to her neighborhood. I've yet to read research that supports it. As a parent, he regularly checks the sex-offender registry so he can watch for those who live nearby. So far, no local towns or cities have enacted sex-offender residency restrictions, which can limit registered sex offenders from living near schools, libraries, playgrounds and other locations frequented by children. The Louisville City Council also directed its police chief to research the issue and is expected to discuss it in February or March. A few months ago, Evans -- Greeley's neighbor -- also looked into residency restrictions, but decided against the idea. A controversial sex-offender management strategy is gaining some traction in eastern Boulder County communities. Colorado doesn't have a statewide law, leaving it up to individual communities. Broader questions include whether restrictions would hinder the reintegration of offenders into society, along with whether restrictions would prevent sex crimes. Others may fail to register altogether. Goodman said there are typically about a dozen registered sex offenders living in the city, including those convicted of misdemeanor offenses. The list, however, doesn't include enough information for him to know who's really a threat, lumping "streakers" in with violent offenders, he said. Residency restrictions are a knee-jerk reaction and give a false sense of security. In Greeley, where there's a foot buffer around schools and other similar places, officials said the goal was to make the city less attractive to sex offenders. As far as Louisville police could determine, no registered sex offenders have reoffended while living in the city, he said. But Erie and Louisville plan to discuss it in coming weeks. Lafayette recently considered -- and rejected -- the idea. Restrictions dubbed "knee-jerk" Another detractor is Michael Dell, who was convicted of sexual assault in Boulder in and is a board member of Colorado CURE, a national organization that advocates for prisoners and former inmates. Rodriguez, the sex-offender management board researcher, said the verdict is still out on whether those are effective in reducing sex-offender recidivism rates. Living with family members is common, but that may not be an option when residency restrictions are in place. Given the limitations of the registry, the city should reconsider creating sex-offender exclusion zones near schools and child-care centers, he said. Chief Schultz cited a research paper produced for Colorado's Sex Offender Management Board in his decision to stay away from residency restrictions. Erie Mayor Andrew Moore said he wants to talk about it mainly because other communities also are looking at residency restrictions. He said residency restrictions are based on the false assumption that registered sex offenders are highly likely to reoffend and to target strangers. Jack Varga, who lives behind Lafayette's Circle Motel -- a collection of short-term housing units that typically house two or three sex offenders -- said he doesn't know if residency restrictions are the right solution.
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