We now have added "Informational Posts" which are tidbits of information that may come in handy at some point.

A Geospatial Analysis of the Impact of Sex Offender Residency Restrictions in Two New York Counties

June 2010:

The efficacy of sex offender residence restriction laws in enhancing public safety is controversial and further complicated by evidence that adverse collateral effects may negate or even outweigh whatever benefits they achieve. Based on the theory of ‘‘distance decay’’ that postulates that offenders are more likely to recidivate closer to home, the statutes seek to distance offenders from potential child victims. However, to the extent that such statutes preclude residence in large portions of covered jurisdictions, it has been argued that they contribute to social instability, relegation of offenders to rural or undesirable locations, and even homelessness. A small number of studies have demonstrated the impact of restrictions on residential availability and compliance with the laws, but methodologic issues make it difficult to compare findings. This study uses parcel geocoding, a computerized mapping method, to examine the impact of the sex offender residency restrictions enacted in Erie and Schenectady Counties, NY. Identification and mapping of restricted locations revealed that in nonurban areas, available residential locations were drastically reduced by the restrictions (89.46% and 73.16% restricted in the two counties) and in urban areas almost completely eliminated (95.45% and 97.21%). Unexpectedly, however, when the registered sex offenders in each county were matched to their addresses in the state database, analysis revealed that residence restrictions had no demonstrable effect on where offenders live. More than 85% of offenders in each of the counties were found living in the urban centers, the vast majority of whom (91.89% and 100%) were matched to addresses in restricted locations. These findings may have important policy and procedural implications in the creation and enforcement of sex offender statutes, as well as in the evaluation of those presently in place.

For the remainder of this paper: by Dr. Jacqueline A. Berenson and Dr. Paul S. Appelbaum

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