How Aware Do People Have to be of Sexual Predators?
The Bradford County Sheriff’s Office recently instituted a policy of placing large red signs outside of the homes of people who have been designated as sexual predators under Florida law. Under the law a sexual predator is a person who has been convicted of either a first degree felony which is sexual nature, or more than one second degree felonies which are sexual in nature. Under Florida law, there are requirements on community notification of the addresses of sexual offenders and sexual predators, but Bradford County is really pushing the envelope on this one.
You have to expect that law suits are going to be filed challenging this policy, arguing both violations of the residents right to privacy, as well as actions being brought by neighboring homeowners, who can certainly expect their property values to plummet.
This is a tough one, because law enforcement certainly has a responsibility to keep its citizens and children safe and aware of potential threats, but when have they gone too far? Would you want the Orange County Sheriff Office to start posting signs in Orange County? What about the possibility that these signs may have the opposite effect from what is desired, actually attracting kids who may be curious about the scary signs, daring each other to make contact with the resident? Or the likelihood that these signs may give rise to violent or threatening demonstrations outside of these houses, or graffiti or criminal mischief? What is really being accomplished with this policy?