Bad for Business
From the Tampa Tribune
TAMPA - A Hillsborough County commissioner wants to ban sexual predators from visiting areas where children congregate, such as parks and libraries.Pushing them perhaps to shopping malls, where there are plenty of children on a daily basis. You'll find alot more children in a day at the mall than a library. Why not include malls in the list of child safety zones?
An ordinance proposed by Commissioner Ken Hagan would go further than the current restrictions prohibiting predators from living within 1,000 feet of a church, school or playground. Hagan wants to create "child protection zones" that would be off-limits to anyone convicted of sexual crimes against minors.
Hagan said he likes the protection zone idea better than increasing the residency buffers. The 1,000-foot restriction is a state law, but local governments can increase it.
Hagan, reacting to proposals by the Tampa City Council, had previously suggested increasing the 1,000-foot buffer to 2,500 feet. The city council later expanded the discussion to consider, among other proposals, a total ban of predators living within the city limits. County Attorney Rene Lee said at the time she had concerns that banning a group of people from living in a city or county was not legally supportable or enforceable.
"In speaking with our attorneys and with our law enforcement, I am inclined to go the route of child safety zones," Hagan said.
Hagan said he hopes the city and county can agree on "seamless" ordinances that would avoid pushing predators into one jurisdiction or the other.
Maybe because of its impracticality or that the law wouldn't hold up to judicial scrutiny or for business reasons. Sexual predators spend money like everyone else.
The Tribune doesn't think much of this proposal either.
The effort by Hillsborough County commissioners and Tampa City Council to protect children from sexual predators is more political than practical.Children need to be protected but dumb and impractical laws are not the way to do it.
Nobody wants a sexual predator living in their neighborhood or going anywhere near children, so it's politically easy to talk about being tough on released criminals who possess sick desires.
But real questions exist about whether ordinances that ban offenders from entering areas where children congregate, or that limit where they can live, can be effectively enforced.
That said, Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan's proposal to create "child protection zones" is a better approach to protecting children than an earlier proposal by Tampa City Councilman Shawn Harrison that would require known sexual predators to live at least 2,500 feet from schools, day care centers, parks and libraries.
The former would put adults on guard for sexual predators and give police priority areas for surveillance. The latter would only push them into new neighborhoods or rural areas where they'd be harder for police to track.
Keeping kids safe is a priority of government, but the goal can't be met if an ordinance written to protect the public actually makes law enforcement's job more difficult.
Linked to- Dumb Ox, Pursuing Holiness, Right Voices,