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Sex Offenders Banned From Play Areas in Los Alamitos

The City Council votes to prohibit sex offenders from going to parks and play areas without written permission from police.

A new law will go into effect next month that bans sex offenders from entering parks and other areas in Los Alamitos where children play without written permission from police.

The new law, which creates “Child Safety Zones” around parks and play areas, earned unanimous approval from the City Council on Monday. With the vote, Los Alamitos becomes the latest city to adopt the measure modeled after an Orange County ordinance passed in April that makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine, for registered sex offenders to enter designated safety zones.

“They can’t kick them out of the city,” said Los Alamitos police Capt. Bruce McAlpine. But city officials can limit where they go.

While the city has only 11 registered sex offenders, neighboring Long Beach has no shortage of sex offenders, said city and county officials. Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff for Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, urged city leaders to adopt the ordinance on behalf of parents and children throughout the city.

“There are over 766 sex offenders living in Long Beach; anybody can come in from anywhere and videotape children," Schroeder said, referring to Philip and Nancy Garrido, the kidnappers of Jaycee Dugard. They videotaped children using the tapes as a means of sexual pleasure and to scout out new victims, said prosecutors.

Los Alamitos Police Chief Todd Mattern said sex offenders on probation have to be watched, and if they commit the crime of being in restricted areas, they will be charged with a misdemeanor. The new law extends to all listed sex offenders, including those not on parole. The only way a sex offender can go to parks or anywhere near a large population of children is if they have a written statement form the police.

“I have been watching this ordinance across the county and wanted to bring it to our city,” said Mayor pro tem Troy Edgar.

Councilwoman Marilyn Poe also came out strongly in favor of the ordinance.

“We should do anything we can do to protect children and if this is an added layer, I am for it,” Poe said.

“I know this will benefit our citizens,” added Mayor Kenneth Stephens.

Following the council meeting, Rackauckas released a written statement praising city officials.

“The citizens of Los Alamitos should thank their City Council for working to protect their children from violent sex offenders who may be lurking in their parks,” he said.

Emily Knell October 18, 2011 at 03:42 PM
Unless we force all sex offenders to have their noses tattooed bright orange,,,,what are they going to do to try to enforce this? Have a cop sitting at every park all day long to ask every person in the park "Have you ever been convicted of a sex crime or are you on the national sex registry list?" "Yes", "Well, you have to leave right now, pay this fine & don't ever come back". or "Do you have your written permission to be here"? When Phillip & Nancy Garrido went to parks to videotape, I'm sure they appeared to be a regular normal couple maybe having a picnic & using the video camera, they blended in with the other park goers. That is the problem, they blend in & why the only way to enforce this would be for the cop to walk up & ask everyone at the park. Do sex offenders need to carry a card with them all the time stating "I'm a sex offender"? What if the cop does go up to some lone guy at the park, does he just say "Papers please & you know which ones I'm talking about you sick jerk?" ----I am all for this type of enforcement however citizens need to know that if you go to a park, you may be asked this question & the cops better be asking everyone or the person who gets asked is going to think to themselves "ugh, do I look like a skeezy sex offender?"
Mohammed Shariff October 18, 2011 at 08:58 PM
You bring up some good points Emily. This ordinance will perhaps deter sex offenders both on and off parole to think twice before entering restricted areas. After the Jaycee Dugard incident there has been much more effort in enforcing laws to  protect our children. This ordinance will be another layer of protection. Yes, there is always a chance of child abduction, but the more attention and laws city's  pass to keep our children safe the better. 
Shelomith Stow October 18, 2011 at 09:31 PM
Every time I see a proposal for a "child safety zone," I shake my head in amazement. Based on every statistic available from any and all sources about who the sexual abusers of children are, any zone that would keep potential molesters away from children and therefore provide them safety from abuse would have to be a zone that separated the children from their parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, cousins, next door neighbors, friends' parents, grandparents, siblings....
Rudy101 October 20, 2011 at 12:27 AM
You all can take that law and SHOVE IT! It doesn't have to be followed at all. Why would anyone follow a law that banishes him from a public space without so much as a hearing? Are you stupid? OH, I understand, you can get a list from the State and then use that list to make any kind of assertion you want, put it to a vote and shazam! all rights are gone! You are too stupid to have a registry. You can't handle one. Your laws are a JOKE and are being laughed at! What do you think you can do about it??? Well, maybe we can talk about it over lunch at the park! IDIOTS!
Duong Vu October 20, 2011 at 04:07 PM
I think this law is a step in the right direction and could lay the foundation for future efforts to protect our children. Yes this law is hard to enforce but technology is rapidly evolving. I could see a day when we will chip our criminals, which will make enforcement of these kind of laws easy, effective, and efficient.
Rudy101 October 20, 2011 at 08:10 PM
When the citizens can be arrested for simply being in a park, for a crime they committed solely because they are not liked, or are considered a threat, that they can never change, is a day of utter darkness for the concept of everything that freedom means.

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