Greenwood Village Bans Sex Offenders

August 14 2006, 9:53 AM

Greenwood Village has become the first city in Colorado to ban registered sex offenders from living just about everywhere within city limits:

Greenwood Village recently became the first city in Colorado to pass an ordinance prohibiting convicted sex offenders from living near schools, parks, playgrounds and other areas near where children gather. As a result, most of the 8.3-square-mile city -- with its abundance of parks, trails and Cherry Creek schools -- is off-limits to sex offenders. A map detailing where sex offenders can live shows only a few pockets and a patch of properties on the city's south end. "We're a relatively small city, but we have six schools, and while it was not an effort to eliminate the entire city from sex offenders, it was driven by the intention to guard children," said Mayor Nancy Sharpe. ....Greenwood Village's ordinance, which went into effect July 26, places 1,000-foot zones around schools, parks and playgrounds and 500-foot areas around day-care centers, recreation centers and public swimming pools. The ordinance also prohibits sex offenders from living on properties adjacent to public or private school-bus stops, recreational trails and routes children take to school.

Greenwood Village has a total of four registered sex offenders living within its boundaries. Happily for now, the Colorado legislature has no intention of passing a state-wide law. When Iowa did, it was fraught with problems.

"There was testimony at committee hearings about some real concerns that sexual predators would have no place to live if we had increased buffer zones, which I thought was fair," said Jefferson County Democratic Rep. Gwyn Green, who tried unsuccessfully to get a bill through committee. "There were also concerns that the courts would not uphold such a measure if it did leave predators with nowhere else to go."

Another problem is that these laws may cause sex offenders to be less likely to register. It's a short step from Greenwood Village's ordinance which applies only to residency and banishment laws. Banishment laws are a short-sighted non-solution to the potential risk posed by sex offenders who have already been punished for their crimes. I explain more about this here and here.

Tags: