Not long after four registered sex offenders men moved into a small ranch-style home in Suffolk County, L.I., this summer, another resident prepared a concoction of paint thinner and road flares to burn the place and kill the occupants, who had served prison time for crimes including rape and sodomy, reports the New York Times. The potential assailant was arrested before the plot could be carried out, but his case has exposed a widespread fear over spreading clusters of sex offenders lower-income neighborhoods. In the city of Mastic, where opponents say 76 offenders live within a five-mile radius.
As laws across the nation have restricted where sex offenders can live once released from prison, a growing number of landlords are marketing their properties to the ex-convicts, who may get government rent subsidies. While some landlords see a business opportunity or even a moral calling in opening their doors to such a vilified population, many residents say the clusters threaten the safety of their children. Situated between the high-priced Hamptons and densely populated, upper-middle-class parts of Nassau County, one area over the past decade has become a magnet for sex offenders upon their release from prison. Of 24,000 registered sex offenders in the state, 825 live in Suffolk County, nearly twice the 452 in neighboring Nassau. Some blame the county Department of Social Services for referring offenders to landlords with inexpensive houses in neighborhoods with little political clout.