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The Blockwatch Beat
There are approximately 1,664 registered sex offenders living in Franklin County.
There are also 500 registered sex offenders in prison that will likely return to Franklin County when released. With all of this going on around you, do you know the laws regarding registered sex offenders? Here are a few common myths;
Myth: There’s no need to do anything. I'll be notified by mail if a sex offender moves into my area.
There are three tiers of sex offenders with tier III being classified as sexual predators. Neighbors are notified by mail for tier III offenders, but not for tier I or II. Even with tier III you are only notified if you live within 1,250 feet of the registered address. If you are 1,300 feet away you will not be notified.
Myth: Sex offenders cannot live 1,000-feet from schools, parks or daycares.
The laws limiting where a sex offender can live are recent and are not retroactive. Offenders convicted before July 1, 2007 are exempt from the daycare and preschool laws. Offenders convicted before July 31, 2003 are exempt from the school laws. These offenders are permitted to live where they please. Sex offenders violating this law cannot be arrested. This is covered under civil law, not criminal law, and it will take a court order to force them to move.
Myth: Sex offenders must stay 1,000-feet away from schools and parks.
There are no laws prohibiting sex offenders from being near or even in a school or park. Sex offenders can even be employed by schools and daycares, unless the business has a policy against it. Bus stops are also not included in the 1,000-feet law. Contact your school to have a bus stop changed to a location that is not near an offender’s residence.
Myth: Juvenile sex offenders are subject to the same restrictions as their adult counterparts.
By law, we are not allowed to be notified about juvenile sex offenders. That means no notifications by mail or through the sex offender notification system. There are 108 juvenile sex offenders in Franklin County.
What can we do to protect ourselves?
First, go to www.sheriff.franklin.oh.us and register for the sex offender notification email list. You will automatically receive email alerts about tier III sex offenders in your area. Be sure to regularly check that website for the location of tier I and II sex offenders.
Also, practice stranger danger techniques including, not talking to strangers, do not help others look for lost pets, report suspicious activity, use the buddy system, and traveling different routes. Know where your children are and establish a blockwatch.
Jay McCallister is coordinator of the Great Western Blockwatch.
Source: Sgt. Stacey Griffith, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Detective Bureau – SORN Unit.
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