imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

California's Sex Offender Database: Is Your Home at Threat Level Red?

by Charlotte Laws, Ph.D. Sunday, Jan. 02, 2005 at 7:02 PM
drlaws@greatervalleyglencouncil.org

The easily accessible Megan's Law Database could have a negative impact on California, raising fears, achieving little and impacting real estate values.

Quick. Can you recite the name, address, and crimes committed by the sexual offenders on your street or in your neighborhood? Apparently many people can. During the first 96 hours after the Megan's Law database was launched on December 15, 2004, there were 14 million hits to the website, out of a total of only 35 million people in California. In fact, the site at Meganslaw.ca.gov was so clogged that many received a message, "Server busy. Try again later."

Toluca Lake has only one sexual offender registered, as does Malibu. After an extensive search, I found only one area with a better record. It is Bermuda Dunes, wherever the heck that is. Turns out it is near Palm Desert, and it reports no sexual offenders at all. The most dismal record I could find was Modesto with 513 offenders and a population of 200,000. This equals one offender for every 389 people in the area.

The "Big Brother type" database is not good news for the 63,000 offenders. The American Civil Liberties Union claims this group may become the victims of vigilante attacks, plus it is argued that many of these ex-cons committed illegal acts decades ago, purport to be reformed, thus should not be revealed at all. There is also the possibility that those listed will never find a job when the Google search engine retrieves the database in association with their names.

But what truly concerns me is never mentioned: the ramifications for non-offenders. It is not politically correct to mention anything that could detract from the noble and worthy goal of protecting children, but what if the database does not indeed defend anyone and what if it destroys the lives and livelihoods of non-offenders by its mere existence? I argue it could.

The first potential problem relates to the safety of children. Parents or guardians may embrace a false sense of security when they check to find no offender resides near their home or child's school, and as a result, may let down their guard. A full 20 percent of those listed in the database--indicated by a red check mark beside their name--have secretly moved to undisclosed locations. Plus those accurately listed have cars. They can drive to Bermuda Dunes.

Not all sex offenders have been caught; in fact, exact addresses are available only for the 33,500 who have committed the most serious crimes, and the website omits information on 22,000 other offenders convicted of less serious sex crimes. It is never entirely safe to leave a child unattended, regardless of what a database says. Complacency could prove a dangerous trend.

Secondly, the Sexual Offender Database is riddled with inaccuracies; the Attorney General's website, which hosts the list, warns about possible gaps in information and the danger of relying on names and addresses to identify people. Because so many of those registered have not reported their change of address; their new neighbors are unaware of their presence, and their old communities are stigmatized.

Kyle and Pam Brown, an East Bay couple, experienced this problem first hand. They were shocked to find their address added to the database with a detailed map to their home. They had purchased the property 11 years earlier, unaware of the previous owner's crimes. Frightened of revenge attacks and embarrassed to be linked to the offender, the Browns asked that the inaccuracy be rectified immediately. The State Department of Justice said it could not replace an old address until it received a new one from the sex offender. Only after pressure and unflattering media reports did the authorities agree to delete the address in a timely manner.

Thirdly, it may sound shallow, but the database could seriously impact real estate values and the ability to sell ones property. There are people, such as the elderly, sick, or financially strapped, who may count on their equity or need to sell in a hurry. They may encounter difficulty if Mr. Sexual Offender lives next door, across the street, behind the backyard, or even three homes away.

Because the database can be accessed by the click of a computer mouse, buyers are likely to check before making an offer, and sellers may be required by law to disclose these "unsavory" neighbors. As a result, property owners may find themselves unable to sell or forced to reduce the list price dramatically. This is especially problematic for single family residences because home buyers, who often have kids, are less likely to be nonchalant about a questionable neighbor.

Over forty percent of the offenders listed in Tarzana, Burbank and Northridge live in houses rather than apartments. Ironically, it could become commonplace to pay offenders to relocate. Why not pay a convicted felon 00 to move to the other side of town when it will result in a ,000 - ,000 increase in equity? As odd as it seems, offenders could find they profit from the negative exposure on the Internet.

Lastly, there is the fear factor. Evidence suggests that offenders are more likely to re-offend under stressful conditions, such as when they are ridiculed or unable to find work. In other words, our communities and children may be in greater jeopardy when these people are publicly exposed.

Fear can also impact non-offenders directly. Talk radio callers boast about driving their children past the "dangerous" homes in their area. What is the emotional impact of this exercise on the child? On the adult?

We are arguably a fearful nation. The nightly news is replete with warnings, violence and disasters; perhaps because instilling fear heightens advertisers' sales. Perhaps because it scores high ratings for the network.

For two years, we have been treated to Homeland Security's color-coded terror alerts, though the government itself admits that "raising the threat condition has economic, physical, and psychological effects on the nation." Does this really make us more secure? Do people still notice these alerts?

It may follow that the existence of an easily accessible sexual offender database might have a similar impact on our state, raising fears, achieving little and impacting real estate values. Will we be better protected by knowing that little Suzy's house is in a red zone, little Bobby's school is in an Orange Zone and little Billy walks his dog in a Yellow Zone? I suspect not, but hope I am wrong.

_______________________________

Dr. Charlotte Laws is an author, the President of the League for Earth and Animal Protection and a Member of the Greater Valley Glen Council. See http://www.ValleyGlen.net

Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
most offenders are known to the victims more rational Tuesday, Jan. 04, 2005 at 1:26 AM

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A13 12:39AM

lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Celebrates 25 Years with the House of Hope Gala S24 7:10PM

Against the Rent Madness and For a Nonprofit Orientation! S24 11:56AM

Cybermonde, cyberguerre, cyberespace, cyberterrorisme S24 6:35AM

Paraphysique de psychosomatique S22 6:58AM

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy