Restricting where sex offenders can live may not stop a lot of crime, but the practice is still valuable because it makes citizens feel safer, some members of a Washington state task force say. A law that took effect in July bars offenders convicted of certain sex crimes against children from living within 880 feet of schools while under state Department of Corrections supervision. The ban is scheduled to end after one year, reports the Associated Press.
The measure’s sponsor, state Rep. Jim Clements, said such sex offender-free zones will supplement a public notification system that may not always fulfill its obligations. Others said more public education and prevention efforts are a better solution. But that message is not likely to reassure frightened constituents, said Clements, a co-chairman of the Legislature’s Sex Offender Management Joint Task Force. “People don’t necessarily want statistical analysis. They want security for their children — real or imagined,” he said.