Thursday, May 14, 2009
Senator Pushes for Sex Offender Notification
By Conor Greene
There are more than 3,400 sex offenders living in the five boroughs, and several lawmakers want the state to notify residents via e-mail every time one moves into their neighborhood.
“More and more families with young children are choosing to stay in New York City and raise their families. It would be near criminal to deny New Yorkers the added convenience of better protecting our children from the kind of unsavory individuals who are, in many cases, our neighbors,” said Senator Jeff Klein, who is calling on the state to adopt the legislation.
According to Klein (D-Bronx), an existing statewide emergency communication system managed by the Department of Homeland Security would make it easy to allow residents to register for e-mail notifications. Currently, residents who want up-to-date information on sex offenders in their communities must search the Sex Offender Registry maintained by the Division of Criminal Justice Services.
Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), who is sponsoring the bill in the Assembly, noted that New Yorkers are already able to get notification of traffic delays, storm warnings and other information from government agencies through the NY-Alert system. “The cost to merge this information into NY-Alert and notify New York parents when sex offenders move into their neighborhood is negligible, and the benefit is self-evident,” said Lancman.
As of May 4, there were 11,428 level-two-and-three sex offenders in the state’s registry, with an average of 15 residing in each city zip code. Of the 3,428 known sex offenders living in the city, 133 live in Staten Island, 1,197 in Brooklyn, 639 in Manhattan, 928 in the Bronx and 531 in Queens. While level two and three (moderate and high risk) offenders are listed on the state’s website, the information is constantly changing as new offenders are added and existing registrants update their information, noted Klein.
In addition, with offenders subject to the 12-year-old registration requirements being released from prison every day and an increasing number of crimes, such as sex trafficking, being added to the list of registerable offenses, the number of registered offenders is likely going to continue expanding in the coming months and years.
The Senate is expected to vote on the legislation on Monday.