New York state legislators spent much of the 2005 session demanding tougher penalties for sex offenses, suggesting the problem was on the rise. In fact, a look at state records shows that most counties have seen a decline in sex offenses over the last five years, reports the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Thirty-one counties in New York recorded fewer sex offenses in 2004 than in 2000. Twenty-six had slight increases.
Looking back 10 years, almost all counties fluctuate. But one thing is certain: There is no rampant upsurge. That’s not the impression people would get from the media or politics, said one researcher. “Sex offenders are perceived as lurking around the corner,” said Thomas Castellano, chairman of the criminal justice department at Rochester Institute of Technology. “But it’s not based on any empirical data. … Violent crime and sex crimes in the last decade have been going down in New York and around the country.”