Save The areas around Lake Minnetonka where convicted predatory offenders may live is being steadily restricted. Greenwood kicked off the streak in early December by adopting an ordinance prohibiting sex offenders from living near areas where children congregate, and has started with cities including Deephaven, Orono, Shorewood and Tonka Bay approving similar regulations.
Excelsior officials have also discussed restrictions and that council seems poised to also adopt an ordinance soon. While some details in the ordinances differ, the main purpose is to keep convicted sexual predators from living in areas where groups of young people gather.
The restrictions prohibit the offenders from living within 1, to 2, feet of places including schools, daycare centers, parks and playgrounds. Some also make it illegal for the offenders to participate in holiday events such as distributing Halloween candy to children or dressing as an Easter bunny. Such restrictions have opponents in people who say they offer a false sense of security.
They point out that children may walk past areas where sex offenders could legally live to get to places like schools and parks. Others point to research that shows residency restrictions are not effective in lowering the recidivism rate of convicted predatory offenders. When Meehan initially urged the cities covered by the South Lake Minnetonka Police Department to adopt the restrictions, major changes to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program seemed imminent. The Minnesota Sex Offender Program provides treatment to people who have been court-ordered to go through the program.
The Minnesota Sex Offender Program is intended to prepare the offenders for a successful return to the community. Clients are treated at facilities in Moose Lake and St. Peter campus but outside of the secure facility.
In the summer of , U. In the more than two decades of the program, only one person has been fully discharged from it. That decision was appealed but while state officials awaited the ruling, there was talk of finding more efficient ways to work clients through the program so more could eventually be released. Meehan told Shorewood officials Jan. Local offenders Predatory offenders who are released from prison or other confinement are assigned risk levels.
Those given a level 1 are deemed to be at a lower risk of re-offending, those with a level 2 are considered to be at a moderate risk of re-offending, while those with a level 3 are determined to be at a higher risk of re-offending. There are also some offenders who have not been assigned a level, such as offenders who were released prior to the time when levels were assigned.
Local law enforcement is notified when predatory offenders move into their communities, but that information is only public with level 3 offenders.
The closest level 3 offenders appear to be two individuals in Hopkins. He quickly moved out of the city. He is now listed as being homeless in downtown Minneapolis. Offenders who were given a lesser risk level likely do live in the area, but the general public is not privy to their address information.
Local law enforcement, however, are notified when those offenders move into an area. Victims of and witnesses to the crime, other law enforcement agencies, and anyone identified by the prosecuting attorney to receive the information.
In addition to the above, notification may be given to schools, daycare centers, and other organizations where individuals who may become victims of the offender are regularly found. Law enforcement may also choose to notify certain individuals that they determine to be at possible risk.
The information is not to be redistributed by organizations. Requires broad public notification, usually done through a public meeting. Law enforcement may also notify individuals and agencies included in level 1 and level 2 notifications, and may use the media and other distribution methods to get information to the public.