Rooting Out Sex Offenders, Taking Responsibility For Our Own Neighborhoods

September 8, 2009 at 7:00 am 2 comments

Although the story of Jaycee Lee Duggard has put local law enforcement under the spotlight, and the local police chief has admitted errors, there is one group that hasn’t received much criticism at all for its mishandling of the situation: the neighbors.

Neighborhood Suspicions

I’ve read and heard about the many neighbors who thought Phil Garrido was creepy. And many of them suspected he was probably doing something bad or illegal. In fact, I have read accounts that neighbors even suspected sexual acts were being committed in the backyard, and that children were being kept back there. On one occasion a neighbor called the police, but nothing came of it, so they let the matter drop.

Why didn’t these neighbors—who knew Garrido was a sex offender—voice their concerns earlier or follow up with the police officers? Maybe it was for fear of wrongly accusing an innocent man, or maybe they just didn’t want to get involved.

Taking Responsibility

As citizens in our communities it is our duty to keep our neighborhoods safe. Granted, police have the specific duty to enforce the law when it is broken, but they cannot do their jobs without our help.

One of the lessons we need to take away from this unfortunate case, is that WE are ultimately responsible for the safety of our community—not law enforcement. We need to break out of our shells, talk to our neighbors, and communicate our concern with them. Knowing that other people share our concerns, makes it easier to report crimes, and work together to keep our neighborhoods safe.

If an incident is not resolved to your satisfaction, contact your local law enforcement agency again. Talk to your neighbors and start a coalition to resolve continuing concerns with law enforcement or the local city council, if necessary. I recently heard a law enforcement officer say that if you strongly feel that something is not right, but your neighbor has an 8-ft fence, get a 10-ft ladder and see for yourself what is going on.

Ultimately, ceding our neighborhood protection duties to law enforcement leaves us without control over our own homes, families, and communities. The police cannot be in all places at all times, be we are in our communities all the time. Let’s take responsibility, get involved, and take back our neighborhoods.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. VDog  |  September 9, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    The insane registry laws did not prevent this pervert, Philip Garrido, from doing what he did! The registry laws, and especially the residency / work place restrictions, have done far more harm than good. Forget about all the cases of vigilantism; forget about the fact that while these laws are proposed to protect the children, they include children, and a huge percentage of those on the list committed crimes that had nothing to do with children; forget about the fact that study after study has proven these laws not only are ineffective, but have actually made matters worse; forget about the fact that upon release from custody, registered sex offenders have one of the lowest recidivism rates, not the highest. In fact those who receive counseling and treatment while in custody have outstanding records as opposed to those convicted of other violent crimes! The fact is the registry and the residency / work place restrictions should be limited only to those who are proven child molesters and pedophiles. This Law Enforcement can handle and monitor effectively. Do you seriously believe a committed pedophile cannot walk or drive 500, 1000, 2500, 5000 feet or more? Jaycee Lee Dugard was abducted miles away from where Philip Garrido lived!

    I am sure we will see comments from some hysterical, uninformed individual(s) who will suggest that all those on the registry should be locked up for life or worse. They will say there is no rehabilitation for these people. And for a few they are right, which is why we need to focus on them! Once a person has done his or her time that should be it. That is the foundation of this great country and its legal system. If you don’t like it, move to China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, or wherever individual rights are ignored. If a person is a proven pedophile, lock them up for a very long time and provide treatment. If treatment is not working, keep them locked up. Too many families are being destroyed for political expediency. Too many children of those on the registry are being abused and ostracized at school. Too many families are being forced into isolation and restricted from the work place. If we are truly trying to protect the children with the registry, then let’s focus on the pedophiles and child molesters’. Get rid of the residency / work place restrictions and focus on the loitering laws. Let the rest of those on the registry re-assimilate into society after they have done their time and become solid, productive citizens; part of the solution not the problem. The facts, (and the Garrido case) as well as virtually all of the research, and study after study have proven what we are doing now, mostly for political expediency and to appease hysterical uninformed parents is not working and is in fact making matters worse!

    Reply
  • 2. Don’t Be a Bystander « The Neighborhood Crime Map  |  November 2, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    […] Phillip Garrido, all his neighbors thought he was creepy and probably up to something illegal. But because no one was willing to push the matter, Jaycee Duggard was imprisoned in his backyard for 18 […]

    Reply

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