Now that many Texas cities have restricted where sex offenders can live, some cities are seeking an overall state law on the subject, says the Dallas Morning News. State legislation could help eliminate a hodge-podge of laws that vary from city to city. At least 15 states have enacted such measures.
The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers says there is no research indicating residency restrictions have any impact on the likelihood an abuser will offend again. The group cited a Minnesota study that found sex offenders seeking victims are more likely to travel to another neighborhood where they won’t be recognized. “To the extent sex offenders are accessing kids, it’s not because of residential proximity to schools, it’s through a grooming process that happens in Boy Scout troops, sports teams, youth groups, etc.,” said Stephen JohnsonGrove of the Ohio Justice & Policy Center. Philip Taylor, a Dallas counselor to sex offenders, said the flurry of residency restriction laws is a “hysterical impulse” that create hardships for offenders and their families. “These measures don’t improve safety,” he said. “They simply help hysterical people feel less hysterical. There’s some good medication for that.”