Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Target-rich environment

Developers Ponder 'Sex Offender-Free' Communities:

Some Texas entrepreneurs are coming up with solutions to protect North Texas neighborhoods from sex offenders. Their plan includes banning registered sex offenders from buying homes in certain subdivisions. ...

The concept is “Sex Offender-Free” communities. Both a Lubbock-based housing developer and a North Texas businessman are trying to create them.

“We are a resource for families looking for homes that don’t have registered sex offenders nearby,” says Taylor Goodman, president of blockwatcher.com, which was launched on June 16. ...

“It’s a false sense of security to believe that where you live, if it’s restricted, is going to protect you,” says Maria Molett, a sex offender treatment provider. “It’s not.”

Critics say the danger is in becoming too comfortable. They also say these restrictions will dissuade sex offenders from registering. “If we’re talking about protecting the community,” says Molett, “the more restrictive these rules are, the less people are going to cooperate with them.” ...

I & S Investments already has sex offender-free subdivisions in Lubbock and in Kansas. The owner tells us he believes their policy has boosted their sales by at least three to four times.

Where is the best place for a child molester on the prowl to go? To one of these communities! Parents will become too comfortable and think their children are safe there, because there are no sex offenders living in the community. And they're paying good money for that assurance; they will truly believe they're buying safety.

Remember, though, that half the sex offense convictions every year are first-time convictions, and these covenants don't stop the sex offender who hasn't been caught yet, no matter where he lives. Even walled perimeters, armed guards and deep background checks on every single person wishing to enter the compound isn't going to stop these sex offenders.

It'll be interesting to see what happens the tragic day a sexual assault occurs in one of these communities. There will be lots of acrimony, no doubt, when these people learn how they threw good money away.


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