Monday, March 11, 2013

Cities Are Building Tiny Parks to Get Sex Offenders to Move

Taking advantage of strict laws that dictate where a sex offender can live while on parole, cities across the country are building little parks for the sole purpose of making offenders move.

Residents of the Harbor Gateway neighborhood in Los Angeles have pushed community leaders to buy a small lot that will serve the singular purpose of making it nearly impossible for the group of 30 paroled sex offenders to continue living in their apartment complex up the street.

The tactic is not uncommon, as "one playground installation company in Houston has even advertised its services to homeowners associations as an option for keeping sex offenders away."

Naturally, this hasn't helped the massive problem of sex offender homelessness, which has increased dramatically in places like California, a state that recently tightened its laws governing where paroled sex offenders can live. This further compounds the problem, as homeless offenders are much more likely to commit another crime than ones with stable housing.

"Putting in parks doesn't just break up clusters - it makes it impossible for sex offenders to find housing in the whole city," Janet Neeley, a member of the California Sex Offender Management Board to The Times. "It's counterproductive to public safety, because when you have nothing to lose, you are much more likely to commit a crime than when you are rebuilding your life."

But hey, at least they're not offending in my backyard — thanks to this little, itty bitty park.


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