They cluster because of the laws being passed. When is the media going to investigate why offenders cluster instead of more fear-mongering?
By Ron Regan
AKRON - It's one of the largest concentrations of sex offenders in Ohio. A Five On Your Side Investigaton exposes where even child molestors can be housed on a street loaded with children.
The neighborhood is located near Delia Avenue and West Exchange Street, just west of downtown Akron.
Concerned neighbors have complained their mailboxes are being stuffed with sex offender notifications. Those notifications are required by law and sent by the Summit County Sheriff's Department when rapists and child molestors move into a neighborhood.
- It's not just rapists and child molesters, like you are leading everyone to believe, it's all sex offenders.
The neighborhood is not far from two elementary schools and children can easily be spotted playing outside on lawns and sidewalks.
"For the children, that's what I'm worried about," said one resident. "There's a bunch of them go to school. A bunch on this street. I don't like it. That's too close."
Our investigation found a total of 19 sex offenders living within just a few blocks of the area.
Another resident who saw the list of sex offenders called it "horrifying."
"I think its very sickening that our community has to suffer this way," she said.
Efforts to speak with sex offenders were met with resistence.
"I've got enough problems, I don't need--if you know what I mean," said one sex offender who declined to talk.
Rev. Eric Kirksey lives behind one home that houses nine registered sex offenders, including six tier 3 offenders.
"They're all risks, as far as I'm concerned," said Kirksey, who reached for a sex offender notification card he just received this week.
- Wow, spoken from a true hypocrite pretending to be a religious person.
Tier 3 offenders include those convicted of rape and sexual battery.
Neighbors on Delia Avenue call it a "sex offender hotel." It's called "The Exit Program" and is operated by a Columbus based non-profit that's helped more than 50 sex offenders transition from prison to neighborhoods.
Michelle Johnson is the program's executive director and said it helps keep offenders off the street and placed in a monitored facility.
One man who lives in the home said "for the most part, they are just a bunch of decent guys."
It's a program that has received plenty of support, including letters to program officials from Akron's Chief of Police who wrote it "helps promote safe neighborhoods."
Another letter from the Summit County Sheriff's Department said the program "helps offenders to more likey succeed and not re-offend."
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction also wrote a letter supporting the program calling it "an exceptional program."
Corrections officials report that taxpayers spent $262,000 last year on the program in Akron and Columbus.
In Ohio, there are no laws barring multiple sex offenders from living in one home or neighborhood.
But concern among neighbors has reached Ward 4 Councilman Russel Neal who said he was unaware of the facility until resident contacted him.
"There are a lot of children in the neighborhood", said Neal. "If they're concerned, I'm concerned"
- Yeah, you are a councilman, who wants to exploit the issue to look good to the people. There are kids everywhere, and the offenders have to live somewhere.
Neal said he plans to call a series of neighborhood meetings to educate the community.
- Yeah, to incite fear so he can help further his own reputation and career maybe! [This asshole Councilman might as well got tar and feathers!]
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin