Each day, children flock to the borough’s popular neighborhood community centers, not knowing that these buildings are being surrounded by registered sex offenders.
So says a report recently conducted by Rep. Anthony Weiner which discovered that 56 registered sex offenders live within 10 blocks of 10 of Brooklyn’s more popular city run or city-funded community centers — the highest of any borough.
Of the 56, 18 of the sex offenders live within five blocks of their nearest community center.
While there are no laws on the books barring registered sex offenders from living near YMCAs, YWCAs or YM-YWHAs, Weiner found the results of his study troubling, especially amid a recent report that a Borough Park man was arrested for molesting a child — now a teenager — at the Boro Park YM-YWHA, 4912 14th Avenue.
Yet, since the man arrested for that attack had yet to be convicted, Weiner’s study showed that no sex offenders lived in close proximity to the Borough Park Community Center.
The study did discover, however, that 29 registered sex offenders lived within 10 blocks of the Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA at 139 Monroe Street. An additional 11 sex offenders lived within 10 blocks of the North Brooklyn YMCA at 570 Jamaica Avenue. At least one of these sex offenders, a man who had been convicted of sodomizing a nine-year-old girl, lived at the North Brooklyn YMCA, the report showed.
The study goes on to report that five sex offenders were found living near both the new Coney Island YMCA at West 29th Street and Surf Avenue as well as the Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton Manhattan Beach at 3300 Coney Island Avenue.
Two sex offenders were found living within 10 blocks of the Kings Bay YM-YWHA at 3610 Nostrand Avenue near Avenue U and the Flatbush YMCA at 1401 Flatbush Avenue.
One sex offender was found living near the Dodge YMCA, 225 Atlantic Avenue, and the Greenpoint YMCA, 99 Meserole Avenue.
The area around the Prospect Park YMCA, 357 9th Street, was sex-offender free, according to the study, where federal employees combed the sex offender registry maintained by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services to locate names, addresses and offenses of registered sex offenders citywide.
According to their own website, the 2,686 YMCAs peppered throughout the country serve nearly 20 million members. Approximately 9.5 million of their members are under 17 years old.
While he made it clear that these community centers can’t be blamed for not knowing about the predators that live nearby, Weiner said he hopes the results of the study would help bolster his demand for more stringent tracking of registered sex offenders.
Weiner is demanding that $100 million in federal funding be granted to major cities to help them track sex offenders.
The money, he said, should go to specially-designed GPS tracking devices that would alert the police if a sex offender is found lingering by a community center.
The data collected by the GPS systems could also be used in probation hearings and to determine parole violations.
When paroled, some sex offenders are ordered to stay away from schools or areas where children congregate, the congressman explained.
“Keeping our kids safe is an ongoing effort that demands greater vigilance, especially near where our children hang out,” he said. “We need to do more to track offenders, to enforce existing laws and to arm parents with tools to protect their children from sex offenders.”
©2009 Community News Group
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