New York City is the latest of many municipalities struggling to house sex offenders. As more laws are enacted that prevent sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, churches, daycare centers or parks, the places they can live are becoming increasingly limited. Even if a sex offender does find a place, the stigma attached to such a crime often stops the landlord from allowing them to move in.
Although these laws are meant to keep kids safe, they may be having the opposite effect. Transient sex offenders are more likely to re-offend. Not allowing sex offenders access to housing keeps them on the street, often clustered with other offenders, which leads to more crime. Suffolk County recently installed two trailers to house sex offenders in an empty lot. Residents of the trailers complain they are cramped and have only one shower for the roughly 40 residents. Similar situations in other states have led to sex offenders living under bridges or in motels.
The problem is only set to get worse with more offenders being released and even less places where they can live. Legislative tracking reveals that no bills have yet been formulated to deal with the pressing issue. Other states are also struggling to find a solution.