Are Child Predators a Threat in Your Neighborhood?
After the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case and what seems like an epidemic of crimes in Florida and nationwide, how concerned are you about child sex offenders living in your community?
The child sex abuse scandal at Penn State and last Friday's guilty verdict against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky have shed the national spotlight on child predators and sex crimes against kids.
But residents of Florida are unfortunately no stranger to these types of cases. There are the shocking and high profile incidents, like the 2005 murder of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford by a convicted sex offender in Citrus County. And there are the commonplace crime stories, like a Largo man who was arrested last week on child porn charges, just a few weeks after he was accused of traveling to a local park to have sex with a teenager.
Even when they're caught before harming anyone, the seeming preponderance of would-be child predators can be staggering. A sex predator sting in May by the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office netted 31 arrests, including local businessmen, members of the military and others in well to do professions, who showed up at a house allegedly intending to have sex with children.
A sting operation earlier this month by the Polk County Sheriff's Office and state and federal authorities netted 38 men in a similar operation.
A search for sex offenders in your neighborhood can be even more alarming, especially for parents. A recent look at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's online database of registered sexual offenders and predators by county turned up 1,669 results in Hillsborough, 1,457 in Pinellas, 753 in Pasco, 387 in Sarasota and 369 in Manatee.
How concerned are you about child sex offenders in your community? Do you look up registered offenders in your neighborhood? Did the Sandusky case open your eyes to the issue of sexual abuse against kids? And why do there seem to be so many child sex crimes in Florida?
We want to know what you think. Post a comment below and join the discussion.