Know your neighbor

By Heather Whitty | Copy Editor

Rape. Child molestation. Sexual assault. These are all serious offenses that earn a person the label “sex offender.” In Coos County alone, there are 446 registered sex offenders. Of those 446, 27 are considered predatory, meaning they are likely to strike again. Here is the scary part: Only 14 of those possible repeat offenders are listed on the state’s website. For information on the remaining 13, one must put in a request with the Oregon State Police’s sex offender registry. The public should be able to find this information whenever it pleases.

It is understandable that the state is does not release information on the offenders who are not considered predatory. If it were to give out the names of all sex offenders, these people could be targeted by others who decide to deal with them as they see fit. However, the reason the names of 13 people who are likely to offend again are being concealed from the public remains a mystery. Citizens have the right to know if a neighbor or co-worker is a danger to them or their friends and family.

Now, some may say this is flawed logic seeing as the names of these offenders can be requested. The problem with this process is that the names are released at the discretion of the state; therefore, it must be deemed that a person has good reason for putting in their request. Criminal records are public information. Because of this, the names of all sex offenders, especially those who are predatory, should be promptly released when asked for.

There will always be adversity where there are crimes as serious as those committed by sex offenders. It is acceptable that the names of offenders considered “dormant” are only released when the state feels there is need. The names and locations of all predatory sex offenders, however, should be easily accessible online by any person who wishes to view them. It is more than probable that people will want to keep themselves and their children away from any place where predators reside. The protection of innocent citizens should always come before the protection of sexual predators.