Take Notice of Your Neighbors for Safety’s Sake

By Assemblyman Will Barclay

Recently there was an incident in Skaneateles in which a Level 3 sex offender was caught by local authorities at a local park.  Police questioned and identified the man and asked that he leave the premises.  A Level 3 offender is classified by state law as someone who is at “high risk of repeat offense and a threat to public safety.”  There were no charges filed against the man since he technically did not break the law.

Residents, however, were understandably concerned.  I’d like to remind people of some of the safety precautions people can take to safeguard themselves and their own families.

Several Neighborhood watch groups exist in many communities.  Neighborhood Watch is one way people can collectively respond to crime in their surrounding streets and prevent future crime.  Studies show that Neighborhood Watch programs are one of the most effective and important anti-crime strategies in the country.  During meetings, neighbors gather to talk about suspicious behavior in their communities and home security measures.  Watch groups are organized with the help of local law enforcement officers, who then take a vested interest in paroling the neighborhood in personally knowing the neighbors.

Another tool parents can utilize is the New York State Sex Offender Registry web site.  Anyone can insert an address into this site and determine if sex offenders live nearby.  This is one means people can use to help protect their children and also communicate with older children of their whereabouts. The site may be accessed at www.criminaljustice.state.ny.us/nsor.

The Oswego County Sheriff’s department also maintains an Offender Watch Web site. This is a database of sex offenders, which shows pictures, lists offenses, and current addresses. Residents may also sign up for alerts if the person moves, as sex offenders are required by law to register their new addresses with the state.  This is a great tool for parents that I was able to help secure funding for through a legislative grant last year.

It’s important to talk to children about staying safe.  If your children could have contact with an offender, the Sheriff’s Department recommends showing pictures of the offender to children and asking them to stay away from their residence.  Avoid scary details and include general information and encourage them to tell you if a sex offender initiates contact with them.  Several other tips can be found at www.sheriffalerts.com/cap_main.php?office=54285. This is also where residents can sign up for alerts.

In recent years, state laws have been strengthened, especially with the passage of Megan’s Law, which required sex offenders to register their addresses upon conviction.  More was done this year.  This year, the legislature passed e-STOP, which enacts online electronic security.  E-STOP was signed by the governor in April and requires sex offenders to register any internet identifiers such as e-mail addresses, social networking names and other internet communications. (S.6875)  Luring a child to a building or vehicle is also now a registerable offense under Megan’s Law (A-8488).  However, more can be done.  Jessica’s Law, of which I am a sponsor of, would provide a mandatory 25-years-to-life sentence for certain predatory felonies against children and require lifetime parole supervision for those convicted of predatory sexual assault against children.

If you have any questions or comments or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.

1 Comment

  1. Since the over all re-offense rate is so low and statistics show that over 90% of new child molestation cases take place by first time offenders in the family or close association, you are putting your children at great risk by concentrating on the sex offender registry. The most likely place you will see the face of your child’s possible molester is in your family photo album.
    There are wonderful safety tips and education at http://www.stopitnow.com/comquest.html
    Having our Media and Politicians direct the public to only those registered sex offenders is doing a great disservice to the community and specifically to our children.

Comments are closed.