June 28, 2013

Sex offender numbers in North Minneapolis puzzle, rile residents

6-28-2013 Minnesota:

North Minneapolis residents angry about the number of convicted sex offender being relocated to their neighborhoods called on local and state officials Tuesday night to find ways to stop the practice.

"For some reason, this community has been saddled with a concentration of Level 3 sex offenders at a rate over 10 times the county ratio," Jordan Area Community Council board member Dave Haddy told elected and law enforcement officials gathered at the Hennepin County North Regional Library.

Using data from the Minnesota Department of Corrections website and the Census, and comparing his findings across city Zip codes, the north Minneapolis resident said it's happening "to a section of the city that is the poorest, has the most single parent families and has the greatest percentage of children under 18."

Haddy said in some neighborhoods, there are five or six Level 3 offenders on a single block. A Minneapolis police official at the meeting said that out of 139 Level 3 sex offenders throughout the city, 55 are located in several north side neighborhoods. Haddy asked why other counties and cities don't have any sex offenders.

"I demand answers. We demand answers," Haddy said. "Enough is enough. We demand action."

One answer came from Mark Bliven, who supervises the community notification unit in the Minnesota Department of Corrections: 80 percent of sex offenders now living in Hennepin County were living in the county before they went to prison. Offenders relocate in areas where they have access to family, friends and housing -- all factors that Bliven says reduce the likelihood they'll re-offend.

"That's our biggest goal," he said of state and county departments of corrections. "The primary goal is to prevent recidivism." ..continued.. by Brandt Williams

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