Based on research by Ackerman, Alissa. R., Levenson, Jill. S., & Harris, Andrew. J. (2012) written by Bethany Wellman, M.S.
After Megan’s Law passed in 1996, establishing the first sex offender registry, the public could find out where sex offenders lived in their communities.
Researchers examined registered sex offenders living in five of the states with 45% of the national population: California, Texas, Michigan, New York and Florida. In 2012, researchers identified that the Florida’s registry of 56,000 registered sex offenders included offenders that were deceased, incarcerated, hospitalized, deported, or living in another jurisdiction. When accounting for these factors, this study found the recalculated rate for Florida was only 132 (instead of 300) sex offenders per 100,000 residents, and concluded that 60% of all sex offenders listed in the Florida registry were not living in the community after all.
Accurate data are needed. Inaccurate listed Registry numbers are misleading and spike community fears regarding stranger danger. The majority of sex offenders are within the family, known to victims. Teach children “No one has the right to touch your body without your permission. Say, ‘No!’ and immediately tell another trusted adult.” Get to know all your neighbors. The more friendlier eyes, the more support and protection for everyone. It takes a neighborhood.
Ackerman, A. R., Levenson, J. S., & Harris, A. J. (2012). How many sex offenders really live among us? Adjusted counts and population rates in five US states. Journal of Crime and Justice, 1, 1-11.