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Neighbors split on sex-offender clamor

5-14-2005 Florida:

A Davie couple have spent the past year warning neighbors of a sex offender in their midst. But some neighbors say they should back off.

.When Rick and Nancy Colgan learned a sex offender had moved onto their block in a quiet Davie subdivision last year, the couple with two sons sprang into action, posting fliers and alerting families. Two other families in the Crossbow subdivision posted fliers and erected fences, installing elaborate security systems with video cameras trained on the offender's home. But other neighbors, while concerned over safety, were also worried that zealous awareness campaigns could harm their sense of community and home values.

The case of Davie's Crossbow neighborhood raises a variety of questions: How and when should residents be alerted to a sexual offender? How much notification is too much? And what about an offender's right to reenter society and live where he wants to live? The neighborhood's conflicts come at a time when a number of cities, in South Florida and nationally, are considering laws limiting where sex offenders can live. Just last week, Davie tentatively approved a law prohibiting offenders from living within 2,500 feet of places where children congregate, such as schools. [snip]

When the Colgans' posters appeared, stapled to tree trunks and road signs, ''it didn't look good for the neighborhood,'' said Jim Kawas. A resident since 1988, Kawas lives down the street from the Mustaphas and Colgans. Kawas said he isn't thrilled about his new neighbor, but said the Colgans' leaflet campaign could scare off home buyers. Rick Colgan, a postal carrier, said he just wanted to make sure everyone knew Mustapha's face. ''You don't want people like that just blending in,'' he said.

Last spring, the Crossbow homeowners association asked Colgan, who was the association vice president at the time, to stop posting the signs, citing town codes. Colgan said Realtors present at an association meeting also asked him to cool it, citing concerns about property values and home sales. Mustapha also complained, to police and to his homeowner's association, that Colgan was harassing him. [snip] But the events of the past year have sent Davie police out at least five times to quell conflicts and hear out accusations. According to a witness in one police report, Rick Colgan seemed to be the instigator, shouting at Mustapha and calling him names. No charges were filed.

''It's been a year of pure frustration,'' since the Mustaphas moved in last February, said Nancy Colgan, an administrative assistant at a forklift company. She laments that she must raise her kids under intense security. Her sons, Tyler, 6, and Eric, 2, are not allowed in the front yard alone. Tall fences shield the back yard from view and several video cameras monitor their property. On Halloween, the family warned trick-or-treaters to avoid the cream stucco house across the way. Watching out for Mustapha, whom her children call the ''bad man,'' is robbing her of time to raise her sons, Colgan said. ''I'm spending more time on his life, watching his every step, than I am on my kids,'' she said. : by NIKKI WALLER ..more..

1 comment:

Guest said...

And the split neighbors don't live in the neighborhood anymore?? hum I wonder why...