Parents who live in certain zip codes may want to think twice before bringing their children trick-or-treating this Halloween.
Currently, there are 11,428 level 2-3 sex offenders on New York State’s Sex Offender Registry, which classifies them according to their risk of re-offending: low-risk (Level 1), moderate risk (Level 2) and high-risk (Level 3).
According to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), Queens is home to 1,132 registered sex offenders, with Far Rockaway leading the way with 63.
In descending order after it are Jamaica 11434 (61 registered sex offenders); Saint Albans 11412 (55); Ridgewood 11385 (54); Corona 11368 (42); Springfield Gardens 11413 (40); Jamaica 11435 (39); Jamaica 11433 (36); Jackson Heights 11372 (35); and South Ozone Park 11420 (33).
However, a new law, signed by Governor David Paterson last month, will create a statewide email notification system of registered sex offenders.
“Parents can now learn in real-time when a sex offender moves into their neighborhood, and armed with this information, they can take steps necessary to protect their children,” said Assemblymember Rory Lancman. “Ultimately, this is why we develop new technology such as emergency alert systems – to keep our families safe.”
Thanks to the statewide emergency communication system, NY Alert, which is managed by the Department of Homeland Security, it will now be easy for New Yorkers to register for instant email notifications that will allow them to keep tabs on a specific geographic area, such as where they live or where their children attend school.
“Currently, as a parent of children in the public school I am notified by my children’s school. However, my neighbors who may not have children in the public school system also deserve to be notified so that they can protect themselves,” said Jo Ann Berger with the Beacon Parents Forum.
Members of the public can access the sex offender database at local police precincts. Level 2 and Level 3 offenders are also listed on an Internet subdirectory at the DCJS web site, http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/.