Florida is among states that have pursued aggressive residency restrictions. The Sunshine State now is dealing with the devastating effects of this initiative: The public is terrified. All research shows that residency restrictions do not work. Research shows that residency restrictions make your community more dangerous.
“All of the research says that residency restrictions have no influence on safety,” said Carey Haughwout, Palm Beach County public defender.
Many sex offenders come out of prison penniless and abandoned by their families. Many others are stymied in their housing searches. The county has a 2,500-foot restriction, and cities can further restrict residency, leaving a hodgepodge of regulations and very few affordable housing options.
Consequently, a colony of more than 100 sex offenders has emerged in an abandoned sugar-company town in western Palm Beach County near Pahokee called Miracle Village. “When we first moved there, they wanted to hang us,” said Pat Powers, director of a ministry group there. “Now the mayor is saying we’re an asset to the community.” MORE