Council considers more limits on sexual predators

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - City Council is continuing its fight against sexual predators in the city by trying to add more restrictions on where they can live.

Current law says convicted predators cannot move into a home within 1,000 feet of a park, school or day care center. A new ordinance being introduced Tuesday night by Councilman John Crescimbeni would prohibit a school or day care from locating near a predator's residence. He said the Council president backs his bill.

The state defines a predator as someone convicted of a first-degree felony sex crime or two second-degree offenses. An example would be someone who has been convicted of having sex with a child under 12. These are more serious crimes than committed by sexual offenders.

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"We have restrictions on where offenders and predators can locate in regards to how close to a day care or school... or what have you," Crescimbeni said, "In the case of predators, I think that should be a two-way street, and require schools or day cares not to be able to locate near them as well."

Crescimbeni believes this is a safety issue and while it may impact a business wanting to relocate. He believes they have just as much responsibility to make sure the area is safe for kids.

"I think as a parent of a child in that day care, I would expect my day care operator not to locate near a sexual predator," Crescimbeni said. "Again a predator can't locate near them, but there is no rule where they can go and not convinced they are looking at that all the time."

Child care facilities we checked with Tuesday said they are not familiar with the proposal and would have to study it before commenting. The Department of Children and Families said they only check to see if a sexual offender lives on site for a home day care, but there is no law requiring them to check nearby for sexual offenders or predators.

Once the ordinance is introduced, it will go to a council committee to be discussed. It could take up to one month before its ready for a full council vote.

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