Pols push sex offender email alerts

Several Queens politicians want to give parents updated information about sex offenders with a few mouse clicks.
A new bill, recently introduced into both the Assembly and State Senate, would set up an email system for participants to receive notifications every time a “moderate-risk” Level 2 and “high-risk” Level 3 offender registers in a geographic area. Those who sign up could tailor their email alerts to where they live, where their children go to school, even where a babysitter’s house is located, officials said of the plan.
At a press conference in Manhattan on Thursday, March 20, Assemblymember Rory Lancman and State Senators John Sabini and Jeff Klein, who represents the Bronx and Westchester, urged their colleagues to pass the proposed legislation, which would merge the state’s Sex Offender registry with NY-ALERT.
“What we are trying to do here today is make our families safe,” Klein said, later explaining that the press conference marked the one-year anniversary of the passage of the state’s civil confinement law, which would prevent sex offenders from being fully released if they are deemed not ready to return to society.
Last year, the state debuted NY-ALERT, which is touted as the All-Hazards Alert and Notification web-based portal, and those who register can receive notices about traffic, weather and emergencies on cell phones, email and other electronic devices.
“What it does is it allows residents to go online and sign up with the state emergency management office NY-ALERT system to get notifications of emergencies, traffic advisories, weather, and potentially dangerous storms, so people can make educated decisions and rational choices to protect themselves and their families,” Lancman said. “Letting people sign up to learn about a sexual offender moving into their neighborhood is as least as important as learning about a weather emergency or traffic blockage on the Long Island Expressway.”
With the number of registered sex offenders on the rise - in part because more crimes like sex trafficking have been added to the list of those requiring registration and in part because some of the registration requirements have been lengthened - Queens residents should have access to the most up-to-date information, the politicians said, without having to navigate the state’s web site.
Parents would have had to visit the web site within the past few months to find out about a 37-year-old man in Richmond Hill convicted in 2007 of sexually abusing two girls - ages 6 and 9 - and a 64-year-old Level 2 offender in St. Albans convicted in 2006 for having an incestuous relationship with a 12-year-old girl.
According state law only Level 2 and Level 3 offenders are listed on the web site. However, information about “low-risk” offenders - those whose crime was deemed of a lesser nature or who authorities deem least likely to commit another sexual offense - is available at police precincts or through a toll free number 1-800-262-3257 by giving your name and at least one other identifier like an exact address, date of birth, driver’s license number or a social security number.
At first glance, there were 955 registered Level 2 and 3 sex offenders in Queens County on the site on Monday, March 24. However, a number of those names are aliases, and that figure includes offenders who are presently incarcerated. According to a report conducted by Klein, there were 204 moderate- and high-risk offenders living within 10 separate zip codes with the highest concentration of sex offenders in Queens as of March 13.
Although that number is lower than the figure in three other boroughs - only Staten Island has fewer with 133 - officials pointed out that several southern and western Queens neighborhoods each have more than one dozen offenders.
Far Rockaway - 11691 - topped Klein’s report of the top 10 zip codes in Queens with 32 total sex offenders - 18 classified as Level 2 and 14 as Level 3. A Ridgewood zip code - 11385 - placed second with 24 sex offenders; St. Albans - 11412 - third with 23; and Jamaica - 11434 - had 21 sex offenders. Springfield Gardens and Corona, which Sabini called a “hotbed,” each had 20 sex offenders living within their confines.
The bottom four neighborhoods on the top 10 list with 17, 16, 16 and 15 sex offenders respectively includes South Ozone Park, two separate zip codes in Jamaica, and one in Woodhaven.
The zip code of 11370, which includes Rikers Island, was specifically excluded from the report because it houses the largest number of incarcerated sex offenders in the city.
According to Klein’s report, there are on average 14.9 registered sex offenders living in each New York City zip code - and that figure does not include those in jail.
How could the number be so high, officials asked rhetorically at the press conference. Well, there are more than 100 offenders living within the East New York zip code of 11207, and just under 100 in two other Brooklyn neighborhoods, thereby appreciably upping the average.

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