Community split on sexual predator signs

Red signs in Bradford County mark homes of sexual predators

BRADFORD COUNTY, Fla. - The Bradford County Sheriff's Office is turning heads with the signs they are putting up to warn their community about sexual predators. The Sheriff's Office is putting large red and white signs up at the homes of convicted sexual predators. 

"I prefer not to do this, people just need to leave people alone," one Bradford County neighbor told Channel 4. "That right there puts it out there for perspective, for people to make their own assumptions. If you assume, that's never good."

Sheriff Gordon Smith told Channel 4 over the phone Tuesday night that he felt compelled to put signs up after a mother complained to him last year that she didn't know a predator was living in her neighborhood. 

Bradford County Sheriff's Captain Brad Smith spoke with Channel 4 on camera Tuesday, saying the Sherriff's efforts have good intentions. "His effort is to prevent another child from ever being another victim an he's doing whatever he can to make sure of that," said Smith.

David Holland agrees with the effort and says the signs are necessary. "I have a 6-year-old granddaughter and there's a lot of this going on in our country, and we need to know who is and who is not," said Holland. 

Opponents to the signs fear possible retaliation from the people in the community. "I think he really believes that this is going to raise awareness, but I really think it's misguided," said Florida Action Committee's Gail Colletta.

Since April the Bradford County Sheriff's Office has put up 18 signs in front of sexual predator's homes, stating that the Florida statue allows them to alert the community of sexual predators by any means necessary.

"We feel, in Bradford County, that this is necessary," said Smith. "We have not had a single incident at this point where any of these predators have been marked by any type of vigilante. We will protect them with the law, but we will also protect our children."

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