Wednesday, February 16, 2011

neighborhood watch?

I came home this afternoon to find a flier in my mailbox about a local sex offender. Apparently he lives about 2houses away.

I don't know how I feel about it. Not the sex offender part - that's not going to alter anything for me - but that someone took it upon themselves to distribute the information. There's a "revised" date down at the bottom, so I'm guessing this is akin to an annual update.

On one hand, I agree that sex offenders should be publicly registered. I am also somewhat aware of recidivism rates and, as such, that his presence may be a concern to some. I also believe - strongly - that if someone wishes to find this publicly available information and distribute it that it is well within their rights to do so. 

However, something isn't sitting right with me here. I'm having a hard time placing it. 

What are your thoughts?


  1. I suspect it's the implication that, because of the notification, there is an attempt to activate the neighborhood to rid itself of this offender--in other words, drive him out. That's how I read it:

    Did you know? What are we going to do about it?

    Since you're new to the neighborhood, you don't know if this is the first notice, or if the guy's been living there for years. If the former, I think my take may be accurate; if the latter, it's a public service announcement. Do you know if everyone in the neighborhood got this announcement or are you the only one since you are a single woman and new to the neighborhood?

  2. There is nothing wrong with that mailing. However, I would suggest they change it a bit.

    Make the mailing more generic. Something like "Do sex offenders live near you?" and have an address to a website that people can search/list offenders. Many jurisdictions already have these sites. That would solve two issues. Those that do not want to know can ignore it and those that need to know who is within 928374 miles can sleep at night. The other is that the distributer now only has one format of mailer. They could print far more for cheap (economy of scale) and have no need for revisions. They could then send them out as often as they like. Everyone is happy... except environmentalist because they are wasting paper.

  3. This is a complicated issue for me. Because I understand the reasoning for public registration of sex offenders - especially for sex crimes against children. But I also ask - why don't we make all criminals register? Wouldn't you want to know if a murderer lived down the street?

    I agree with Franklin that if a mailing is to go out, it should be more generic with instructions about how to find the information out...mostly because I don't think that after someone commits a crime (however heinous) they lose all their rights. The way your mom interpreted it rings the same to me - as if they are being driven out. Which doesn't sit right to me, because if a judge/jury says they've served their time, they get to try to live a normal life, right? (Not saying our legal system isn't a hot mess, but that's for another day)

    Anyhow, it's complicated for me.

  4. how official was this mailer? ...because I was envisioning an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper... but then Franklin made me think of a tri-fold mailer. (I'm a visual person). More-so, I'm wondering if this was the actions of one person in the neighborhood siting in their home printing these things off, or if this is a local/regional group responsible for the mailer.

  5. If I remember correctly, it was an informal 8.5 x 11 home printing. There was a revision date on the bottom, so my impression is that it's a neighbor that sends it out annually.