The Omaha World-Herald article does not say how many of the 31 non-incarcerated registrants in York would be subject to the residency restriction ordinance.
Regardless, there is no evidence that residence restrictions make communities safer. In fact, the York City Council could be taking action that would make the town less safe.
As a social-science writer used to the hedge-y language of “This study suggests that A may cause B,” it felt weird to be exposed to a debate in which the evidence is stacked so highly on one side. So I sent emails to Karen Terry and Cynthia Calkins Mercado, both professors at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice whose primary area of expertise is sex offenders.
Would it really be accurate, I asked them, to say that there’s literallyno evidence these policies are useful? “You are correct,” Terry wrote back. “To date, there is no empirical evidence that these policies reduce the rate of sexual offending.” Mercado concurred, and added that there’s “considerable evidence that these restrictions make readjustment to the community more difficult and thus may inadvertently increase risk for recidivism.”
Hopefully, leaders in York will think twice before going forward with this ordinance.