Stories posted are written by National news Journalists, not by this blog
Our Blog Tips

Community Notification in Washington State: 1996 Survey of Law Enforcement by Scott Matson and Roxanne Lieb

November 1996 Washington:
.In August and September of 1996, the Institute conducted a survey of law enforcement to solicit information on community notification procedures throughout Washington State. The report describes sex offender harassment incidents and methods law enforcement use to reduce these incidents, including community meetings. ..more.. : by Scott Matson and Roxanne Lieb

The potential for citizens to harass offenders following notification has been a concern since Washington’s law was passed. Offenders have occasionally been harassed by members of the community after a notification has been issued. Twenty-two jurisdictions indicated that they take particular actions to guard against the harassment of sex offenders. These actions include warnings on flyers and verbal warnings during door-to-door notification and at community meetings. These warnings advise citizens that legal action will be taken against those responsible for the harassment and that the law will be repealed if it results in citizen vigilantism.

The survey respondents recalled 33 incidents of harassment since the implementation of the law.30 Given the total number of notifications (942), harassment incidents followed 3.5 percent of all notifications.

The most serious of these incidents resulted in a residence being burned down.31 Two others resulted in minor property damage, and in two cases, offenders were physically assaulted. Almost half of these incidents extended to family members of the offender, usually in the form of verbal threats/warnings. None of these harassment incidents have lead to prosecution.

The following harassment incidents were reported by the jurisdictions surveyed:

· In July 1993, Snohomish County issued a notification on Joseph Gallardo, which resulted in the offender’s planned residence being burned down.

· In the city of Everett, residents of an apartment complex where a sex offender lived picketed the offender’s apartment until he moved out.

· In the cities of Aberdeen and Bellingham, threatening phone calls were made to sex offenders following their notifications.

· In the city of Spokane, protesters rallied in front of a sex offender’s house and verbally harassed the offender.

· In the city of Vancouver, and similarly in Ferry County, flyers were posted by unknown individuals showing the sex offender’s picture and detailing his crime.

· In Clallam County, rocks were thrown at an offender’s residence.

· In Douglas County, a group of protesters held a vigil and started a small grass fire on the offender’s lawn.

· In Okanogan County, two offenders were followed and large posters were placed around their living areas stating that they were sex offenders.

· In Snohomish County, eggs were thrown at an offender’s home.

· In Stevens County, a juvenile offender was verbally harassed, and malicious mischief to the family’s vehicle was reported. Upon conducting a community meeting, the harassment appeared to slow or stop, and no further incidents were reported.

· In Whatcom County, the community was notified of a juvenile sex offender. Other juveniles assaulted the offender at school.

· On Vashon Island in King County, an offender was threatened via electronic mail.

30 Incidents reported from the 1993 survey conducted by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy were added to the 1996 survey results.

31 In July 1993, Snohomish County issued a notification on Joseph Gallardo, which resulted in the offender’s planned residence being burned down. The responsible parties were never caught and the crime was never solved.

Footnote 30 is clearly not correct, if you compare what is found in both studies you will find significant differences in reported incidents of harassment, or they have been characterized differently and apparently to minimize the incidents.

No comments: