Weymouth, Ma., this spring joined a growing number of communities across Masschusetts by banning Level 3 sex offenders – those deemed most likely to re-offend – from living within 1,500 feet of any school, park, daycare center, or recreational facility, reports the Boston Globe. Weymouth not only made it almost impossible for Level 3 sex offenders to live in town, they managed to stoke fears in other communities that predators, unwelcome in Weymouth, may be headed their way.
It’s a land rush of sorts. Without a state law restricting where sex offenders can or cannot live, municipalities are doing it on their own, drawing up maps that hem sex offenders into tiny pockets of town or forbid them from visiting public places like libraries. At least 10 communities have passed such laws, including four in the past few months alone. The mere fact that some are taking action makes others consider it, sometimes pitting town against town as officials scramble to make sure their community isn’t perceived as a haven for sex offenders. Many local officials are calling on the state legislature to join more than 20 other states by passing a statewide measure that would restrict, in a uniform way, where sex offenders can live.