An Arizona town, Huachuca City, is getting a lot of buzz for an ordinance, approved last Thursday by the mayor and council, that will ban registered sex offenders from all public facilities. In other words, by late October, they won't be allowed in schools, parks, libraries, pools, gymnasiums, sports fields, and sports facilities, which will be considered "child safety zones." If sex offenders violate the new law, they'll have to pay a $100 fine. Repeat offenders will be charged with trespassing. Police plan to enforce the ban by relying on tips from the community (which I hope they double-check) and heavy patrolling.
The ordinance is being called "bold" and "unprecedented," and while it may seem a tiny bit draconian, it actually makes a lot of sense for this town. Turns out, Huachuca was having an issue with a registered sex offender spending time loitering around the public pool and taking photos, which made parents and children understandably leery.
Honestly, the most humanitarian, bleeding heart area of my brain thinks it's kind of a shame, I guess, if someone is registered as a sex offender but has actually reformed themselves, lives a quiet life, and would simply like to take a walk in the park someday. Still, maybe they're better off moving on from Huachuca ... especially now that this ordinance is in place. No one says they have to stay there! Plus, it's not SO severe a law; there are exceptions. Sex offenders can enter public facilities to pick up their children, vote in an election, or discuss with someone their kids' health or education. Seems fair enough.
Ultimately, it seems like this "crackdown" is an attempt by the leadership in Huachuca to protect its kids, and being that they were having what they call a "serious problem with some pedophiles being a nuisance," I really don't blame them for taking this measure. Hopefully, the ban ends up accomplishing what they hope it will.
What do you think about this ban -- too severe or makes sense?
Image via ICMA Photos/Flickr