Tuesday, October 27, 2009

BEWARE: This Halloween there may be a Sex Offender Answering the Door...

As Children Hit the Streets for Trick or Treating, Concerned Lawmakers Unveil TOP TEN list of zip codes with Highest Number of Level 2 & 3 Sex Offenders Living in Queens County

Announce New Law that will Allow Parents to receive Instant E-mail Alerts when a Sex Offender moves into their Zip Code

Days before Halloween, Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), Senator Joseph Addabbo (D-15th District, Queens), Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-25th District, Queens), Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-37th District) and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-30th District, Queens) released new data showing where the most amount of sex offenders are living in Queens County. They also announced details of a new law that will create a statewide e-mail notification system of registered sex offenders.

I am thrilled Governor Paterson saw the need for this type of system and signed the legislation. New Yorkers deserve to have the convenience and peace of mind that these email alerts will bring so that we can continue to protect our children from the kind of unsavory individuals who are, in many cases, our neighbors,” said Senator Klein.

Currently, there are 11,428 level 2-3 sex offenders on New York State's Sex Offender Registry, which classifies offenders according to their risk of re-offending: low-risk (Level 1), moderate risk (Level 2) and high-risk (Level 3). Members of the public can access this database at local police stations or via a toll-free telephone number. Level 2 and Level 3 offenders are also listed on an internet subdirectory at the DCJS website.

Senator Klein and Assemblyman Lancman sponsored the bill, signed into law by Governor Paterson last month that will create a statewide e-mail notification system of sex offenders.

"Parents can now learn in real-time when a sex offender moves into their neighborhood, and armed with this information, they can take steps necessary to protect their children," said Assemblyman Lancman. "Ultimately, this is why we develop new technology such as emergency alert systems -- to keep our families safe."

More often than not, sex offenders become repeat offenders,” said Council Member Elizabeth S. Crowley (D-Queens). “With the recent egregious crimes against youth from California to Florida to here in New York, we need to take further steps to prevent sex offenders from striking again. That is why I support this law to inform neighbors of nearby registered sex offenders so they take the necessary precautions to keep their families safe.”

As of 2009, there are 1,132 known sex offenders residing in Queens County. The top ten zip codes are as follows: 11691 (63 registered sex offenders), 11434 (61 registered sex offenders), 11412 (55 registered sex offenders), 11385 (54 registered sex offenders), 11368 (42 registered sex offenders), 11413 (40 registered sex offenders), 11435 (39 registered sex offenders), 11433 (36 registered sex offenders), 11372 (35 registered sex offenders), 11420 (33 registered sex offenders).

Thanks to the statewide emergency communication system, NY Alert, which is managed by the Department of Homeland Security, it will now be easy for New Yorkers to register for instant e-mail notifications that will allow them to keep tabs on a specific geographic area, such as where they live or where their children attend school.

I support this law because as a parent of three young children their safety and well being is of the utmost importance to me. I want my children to grow up in a safe neighborhood, where they can walk home from school and go out and play with their friends knowing that they will be safe. This law allows me to know when a registered sex offender moves into my neighborhood and alerts my children as to what dangers may be nearby and what they should do should someone that they don’t know approaches them. Currently, as a parent of children in the public school I am notified by my children’s school. However, my neighbors who may not have children in the public school system also deserve to be notified so that they can protect themselves,” said Jo Ann Berger with the Beacon Parents Forum.

"Community notification via email offers parents vital information which they can use to protect their children from becoming victims of these predators, many of whom are repeat offenders. Using the statewide emergency communication system, NY Alert, it will be easy for New Yorkers to register for instant e-mail notifications. They won't have to spend time scanning NY State's Sex Offender Registry, available to the public at local police stations, or calling a toll-free number, or viewing an Internet subdirectory at the Department of Criminal Justice Services Web site. Over 11,420 level 2 & 3 sex offenders (moderate- & high-risk for re-offending) are now on the registry. Email updates will allow parents and school officials to keep tabs on their own neighborhoods or where children attend school," said Senator Addabbo.

I applaud Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Rory Lancman on their leadership on this issue. Parents and community members need to be able to stay informed as to who is living in the area surrounding schools, this legislation will go a long way in making sure that parents and community members are kept informed,” said Assemblywoman Nolan.

According to DCJS, as of 2009, New York City is home to more than fifty-five hundred registered sex offenders. The largest population is found in Kings County, at about 1,786. The Bronx is the second highest with approximately 1,426, followed by Queens at 1,132 and New York County with approximately 1,100. Staten Island is home to more than 243 registered sex offenders.