May 28, 2013

City enacts tougher rule for sex offender housing

5-28-2013 Florida:

Orlando made it tougher for sex offenders to find a place to live Monday, expanding a buffer zone around schools and other places where children congregate.

State law prohibits certain sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, playground or child-care center. The City Council increased that to 1,500 feet in response to complaints from residents of Rock Lake, where more than 50 offenders have moved, drawn by landlords marketing specifically to a group others find undesirable.

Neighborhood association leader Tom Roseberry thanked commissioners for taking action.

But opponents predicted the measure would push offenders into homelessness while not increasing safety.

"Not one of my offenders has ever committed another crime," landlord Julio Rodriguez said. "They're trying to get their lives back together."

Mayor Buddy Dyer said the tighter rule strikes a balance between safety and offenders' constitutional rights.

Like state law, the city rule doesn't apply to all offenders, only those whose victims were younger than 16. Sex offenders already living somewhere wouldn't be forced to move but could not come back if they move. ..Source.. by Mark Schlueb, Orlando Sentinel

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