As school in New York is set to go back next week, lawmakers have discovered a loophole that allows sex offenders to live dangerously close to where children will be.
State Senator Jeff Klein released a report Tuesday called “Preying on Pre-K,” which reveals that 93 registered sex offenders live within 1,000 feet of a pre-K program, and 60 registered sex offenders live near an elementary school.
This violation occurred when the city expanded pre-K sites to over 1,800 buildings, and some happened to be too close to registered sex offenders.
“What I consider ticking time bombs to live within 1,000 feet of a school,” Klein said of the sex offenders.
Priscilla Israel, a parent who lives in the Morrisania neighborhood of the Bronx, recently discovered that a registered sex offender lives in a building just 684 feet away from a preschool.
“That’s frightening for a sex offender to be right here and we have children in the area,” Israel said.
Daycare provider Cynthia Arroyo described a time when she caught a man trying to take photos of her students on the playground.
“I confronted the person. He ran away, but it made us feel unsafe,” Arroyo said.
Despite concerns, defense attorneys say sex offenders who’ve served their time don’t have many options in a densely populated city – to which parents and teachers aren’t too empathetic.
“Well everybody needs a chance, but they shouldn’t put them here,” Morrisania resident Michael Roberts said.
“We just want our kids to be safe,” State Senator Diane Savino, of Staten Island, said.
Ahead of the new school year, the Mayor’s office is currently reviewing the report, saying it prioritizes the safety of students and staff.