Endangering the Public While Doing Vast Economic Harm

Sex-offender laws like the one we have in Nebraska might lead parents to ignore the greatest threats to the safety of their children, according to an article in the Penn State Journal of Law & International Affairs.

The Cost of Fear: An Analysis of Sex Offender Registration, Community Notification, and Civil Commitment Laws in the United States and the United Kingdom is a worthy read for anyone who is truly interested in public safety. Author Kate Hynes of the Penn State University Dickinson School of Law painstakingly documents her bottom-line argument: Sex-offender laws in the U.S. endanger the public and do vast economic harm.

Here is an excerpt:

Studies have indicated that sex offenders have among the lowest recidivism rates when compared to all criminals.

Additionally, some of the most dangerous sexual crimes, those involving rape and murder, account for less than three percent of sexual offenses perpetrated in the United States. The perception that many sex crimes against children are the result of strangers prowling around playgrounds is also a misconception.

In reality, ninety-three percent of sex offenders who perpetrate crimes against children know their victims. Children are much more likely to be abused by someone they know and trust, than from an unknown individual holding out candy from a dark sedan. The perpetuated fear of “stranger danger” might actually be giving parents an unwarranted feeling of safety around the people with whom their children are most familiar.