Sex Offenders Banned From Parks in OC
Under a new ordinance in Orange County, registered sex offenders are now unable to go into state parks without written permission from the county. If found, they could be charged with a misdemeanor and fined or sent back to jail, reports the OC Register. The ordinance was approved preliminarily by the county's Board of Supervisors, and will go to a final vote on April 5.
Orange County currently has, according to the Register, 1,832 registered sex offenders.
Some present at the hearing believed that the law would be too difficult to enforce and would be struck down:
“Sex offenders look like you. They look like me. How are you going to enforce it?” said Eric Knight of the Sex Offender Solutions & Education Network, an advocacy group made up of former offenders and their family members.“I guarantee you that this law will be taken down,” Knight said. County Counsel Nicholas Chrisos disagreed.
Perhaps of more concern, though, is the reality of how much laws like this actually protect children. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, 96% of sexual abuse committed against children happens at the hands of someone they know and trust, like a family friend or relative. Only 6% of cases involve a stranger, and according to the OC Register, only 7% involves a person who is already registered as a sex offender.
So the question is, who, besides the politicians who stand behind them in an effort to get re-elected, do these kinds of bans help?