Thousands of convicted sex offenders are reporting to police that they are homeless, raising concerns that their lack of a permanent address could make them difficult to track, says USA Today. Sex offenders, who are required to register with police and often barred from living near places where children gather, list addresses such as a tent, “near a bike path,” “behind a cemetery” or “woods behind Wal-Mart.” In Boston, nearly two-thirds of 136 high-risk sex offenders lack permanent addresses. In New York City, more than 100 registered at two homeless shelters. In Miami last month, 22 reported living under a causeway that links the city to Miami Beach. “People should be concerned about this,” says Jill Levenson, sex-crimes policy analyst at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fl. She says homeless sex offenders are more likely to commit another crime.
A USA Today survey of sex-offender registries found that two-thirds of the states allow convicted sex offenders, including violent predators, to register as homeless or list a shelter or inexact location as long as they stay in touch with police. At least a dozen states list hundreds of sex offenders without specific addresses. California registered 2,716 as “transient.” Washington state listed 564 as homeless. Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, and other states say the number of homeless sex offenders is rising. “Residency restrictions are the linchpin for causing homelessness among sex offenders,” says Frances Breyne of the Kansas Department of Corrections.