NARSOL Communications . . . NARSOL denounces “Make Albuquerque Safe” for advocating residency restrictions when such laws are contradicted by research and empirical data.
An entity calling itself “Make Albuquerque Safe” has attacked a mayoral candidate in Albuquerque because, in 2011, he voted for Senate Bill 184 that would have prohibited blanket residency restrictions for persons listed on a sexual offense registry.
”Make Albuquerque Safe” attack ads are running despite the that fact that New Mexico’s Sex Offender Management Board, the state organization tasked with keeping up with the latest research in the field and recommending practices based on facts and best practice, supported the bill also.
The research on the effectiveness of residency restrictions as public safety policy does not support restrictions as effective.
“Research has demonstrated that residence restrictions do not decrease and are not a deterrent for sexual recidivism. In addition, research has shown no significant decreases in sex crime rates following the implementation of residence restrictions,” writes the SMART Office on their website. The DOJ’s Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking Office is authorized under the Adam Walsh Act.
Tulsa, Oklahoma, implemented residency restrictions in 2006. Ten years later, Tulsa police sergeant Adams said, “2006 just turned our world upside down; prior to that we had 15 to 20 (failure to register) violations a year. Since that we have hundreds of violations a year.”
Research data and anecdotal reports are consistent in failing to find efficacy in the implementation of residency restrictions for those who are registered. In Wherefore Art Thou? Transient Sex Offenders and Residence Restrictions, researcher Jill Levenson writes, “Significantly higher proportions of transient sex offenders were found in counties with a larger number of local-level restrictions….”
NM Senate Bill 184 is supported by this research.
At least a dozen states have never implemented residency restrictions, and others have repealed or scaled them back in recent years.
One of those states, Maine, writes as part of its Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committee Study of Sex Offender Registration Laws (Page 19), “Over the years, the Legislature has heard and worked a number of bills dealing with residency restrictions. Hearing testimony on these bills and educating ourselves about other states’ experiences with residency restrictions, the committee finds, and the research supports, that such restrictions do not increase public safety.”
And New Mexico’s own SOMB writes, “The Board has concluded that current research does not support imposing residency restrictions on sex offenders in New Mexico… the Board has concluded that imposing residency restrictions may ultimately reduce public safety.”
NARSOL calls on all mayoral candidates to repudiate “Make Albuquerque Safe” and asks those holding public office to first assure that the legislation they support is grounded in facts and will indeed work toward increasing, not decreasing, public safety.