Officials say moving sex offenders outside city limits will not solve issues

Milwaukee mayor signs ordinance limiting where sex offenders can live
Officials say moving sex offenders outside city limits will not solve issues

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett signed an ordinance that limits where registered sex offenders can live.

The ordinance requires all registered sex offenders to live at least 2,000 feet away from schools, day cares, parks and playgrounds.

In Rock County, local law enforcement and victim recovery programs agree that exiling sex offenders outside of the city will not completely solve the issue.

There are more than 250 registered sex offenders in the city of Janesville. Deputy Police Chief Dan Davis said an ordinance like Milwaukee’s would push convicts completely out of the community.

“An ordinance similar to the one they passed in Milwaukee would pretty much mean you cannot live in the city of Janesville,” Davis said.

Anna Grzelak has helped victims recover from sexual assault for four years as the program director for Rock and Green counties’ sexual assault recovery program. Grzelak said because sexual assaults are highly unreported, many offenders go free.

“Many of the victims that we serve, their assailants are not in prison, jail or they are not on the sex offender registry. So, we just have to be careful that as a community we are not creating a false sense of security,” Grzelak said.

Grzelak said Milwaukee’s plan is only one option for a much bigger problem.

“This is a very complex social issue, and it’s going to take a more sophisticated approach and several different things instead of one thing, one ordinance by itself is not going to solve this entire issue,” she said.

Currently, the city of Janesville does not prohibit where registered sexual offenders can live. The Department of Corrections sets restrictions on a case-by-case basis while each offender is on probation or parole.