Controversy Over New Grapevine Sex Offender Ordinance
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GRAPEVINE (KRLD) – The Grapevine City Council passed an ordinance that bans sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of wherever kids “commonly gather,” which is twice as restrictive as state law.
The ban stretches to places like schools, parks, hiking trails, day care centers and churches. And in the 36 square miles that Grapevine spans, that leaves very few places where a sex-offender can live.
“In Northeast Tarrant County you have a lot of schools, you have a lot of churches, you have a lot of parks and public places, so it is fairly restrictive alright,” says Grapevine Mayor William Tate. “We’re living in a world of constant change and you have to monitor your ordinances and update them from time to time.”
Tate feels the ordinance will increase the overall safety of the city’s residents, but some experts on the issue think it goes too far.
“They’re basically kicking them out of the city,” says Stuart Couch, a Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Provider. “I think they will be putting the public at large in greater danger by concentrating the sex offenders in one place.”
Couch says that depending on the class of a sex offender, they need to learn how to re-integrate into society under the supervision of probation officers — and that the Grapevines ordinance encourages the opposite.
“They would be isolated and you don’t want to have criminals or people on probation associating with one another.”
In Miami a local ordinance that banned sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools, parks and bus stops created a “Sex Offender Colony.” At one point, the area housed as many as 100 sex offenders who lived beneath the Julia Tuttle Causeway in tents, sleeping bags and other make-shift homes.
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