Protecting the Public in Wisconsin vs. Fear-Mongering in Nebraska

Instead of wasting his time on anti-sex-offender publicity stunts, the Chief of Police in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, helped facilitate a community workshop that reviewed scientific facts about sexual offenders.

Oshkosh Police Chief Scott Greuel provided information about research that shows residency restrictions are dumb and do not work. (Contrast that with Douglas County, Nebraska, Sheriff Tim Dunning, who pulls “compliance check” stunts to play on public fear).

READ OSHKOSH NORTHWESTERN COLUMNIST DAN RYLANCE ON THE WORKSHOP

Chief Greuel stressed two facts:

  • Approximately 93 percent of all sex crimes are perpetrated by offenders known to the victim prior to the offense.
  • The majority of sexually abused children are victimized by someone well known to them and approximately 60 percent of offenses take place in the victim’s home or the home of someone they know.
These facts scare Dunning and others who like to keep people afraid of things like “stranger danger.” There is no political hay to be made by telling folks that their kids are in fact at greatest risk from people in their own families or from close friends. They’re at greatest risk in their own homes — not in the parks or the schools falsely “protected” by Nebraska residency restrictions.

If these facts ever got out in Nebraska, people would begin to realize there is no reason to regulate where former offenders sleep, or whether they go to parks or libraries. And if people started to realize stuff like that, there would be fewer community fears to manipulate in hopes of getting votes or grubbing more law enforcement grant money.
The only thing that might happen is Nebraska might start truly protecting children with laws and public policies that represent substantive solutions.
As it stands, Nebraska sex-offender laws are a sham generally supported by people like Dunning, who are supposed to be protecting — not manipulating — you.

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