One Florida community has initiated the newest indignity against sex offenders: the placement of signs outside homes warning an occupant is a sexual predator. The move is one another community is hoping to make law.
In April 2013, the Bradford County Sheriff’s office went to the homes of 18 registered sex offenders and placed large, red signs that read: “A convicted sexual predator . . . lives at this location.” The designation of a sexual predator can be imposed upon persons convicted of sexual crimes against children or adults.
“In the state of Florida, being a sex offender and sexual predator are different things,” said the Bradford County Sheriff’s office’s Chief of Operations, Brad Smith. “A sexual predator is somebody who’s been convicted of a first-degree felony that is sexual in nature or multiple second-degree felonies that are sexual in nature.”
His department notifies the community on Facebook and by going into the area when a sex offender first moves in. He said more is needed, and the law allows for the posting of signs outside homes. According to Smith, Florida Statutes specifically provide “the Sheriff of the County or the Police Chief of the municipality where the sexual predator resides shall notify the community and the public of the presence of the sexual predator in a manner that is deemed appropriate by the Sheriff or the Chief of Police.”
This new form of notice is one that Port Orange’s Vice Mayor is pushing for his city to adopt as an ordinance. “I don’t care if it costs $1 or $100,000 to put up a sign. There are some things you just can’t put a price on,” said Vice Mayor Don Burnette. I understand that people need a place to live. That doesn’t mean I have to make them feel welcome here.”
Sources: vice.com; New York Daily News
As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.
Already a subscriber? Login