Sex Offender Notification “Does It Make You Feel Safer?”

Recently a relative in Florida advised me that they had just received an “automated public phone notification” from the local sheriff’s dept. announcing that a sex offender had moved into their area.
Apparently this is “common practice” in Florida.

I asked my relative, a rational, level-headed, middle-aged woman if she felt any “safer” knowing this tidbit of public infomation.

Her response, plain and simple, “NO”.

“Public announcements”, according to my relative,” give the address of the sex offender but no indication of what their offense was.” “Perhaps if it’s a violent sexual predator, well, maybe that would be worth knowing” she said “but it could be a teenager on the registry for having had consensual sex with another teenager, young adults having sex on the beach or kids caught up in sexting, all non-threatening safety concerns that the public doesn’t need to be notified of.”

Her point was well taken, the public service announcement was pointless, it didn’t make her feel any safer since she had no idea who the person was, what their offense was or the circumstances surrounding their offense. One’s feeling of emotional and physical safety is certainly different if responding to concerns about a non-violent, first-time, non-contact offender versus a violent, predatory, serial sex offender.

So, what’s the purpose of announcements such as Florida’s?

Is it to make us feel less “safe” jogging thru that neighborhood? Is it so parents teach their children to “cross the street” when walking past that address because a “bad” person lives there? Or is it purely a public punative scare tactic used by local politicians and law enforcement in their bid to pass even more ordinances forbidding registrants from living within a certain area?

Well, Florida, this is my public service notification……the registry is bad enough…..public notifications such as yours only add insult to injury for registrants, who have paid their debt to society, and registrant families. Think about them as, they too are “the public” and your announcements are not “serving” them.

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