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City shuns sex offenders

Posted: April 29, 2009 10:05 p.m.
Updated: April 30, 2009 4:55 a.m.

In this map depicting the boundary of the Santa Clarita Valley, newly registered sex offenders will be prohibited to live in the areas shown in red. The ordinance, if passed at its second reading, will not apply to the roughly 230 registered offenders who already live in Santa Clarita Valley.

 

Newly convicted sex offenders are effectively prohibited from living in Santa Clarita as the result of a decision by the City Council.

The ordinance, which follows on the heels of a similar county decision, was passed Tuesday night. It includes nearly all of Santa Clarita, and prohibits newly registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of child-care centers, trails, parks, paseos and open space within city limits.

The ordinance does not apply to the roughly 230 registered offenders who already live in the Santa Clarita Valley.

There are 11,220 registered sex offenders in the County of Los Angeles, according to a Tuesday search on the Megan’s Law Web site.

The council passed the ordinance to a second reading — most likely May 12 — at which point it will become active. A second reading is required for any ordinance passed, City Clerk Sharon Dawson said.

Assuming no opposition is raised before the second reading, the ordinance will go into effect by June 12.

The areas of the city not affected by the ordinance include land just east of the Highway 126-Interstate 5 junction; a swath of land northwest of the intersection of Highway 14 and Placerita Canyon Road; and a roughly 2-mile-square area on either side of Sand Canyon Road just north of Placerita Canyon Road.

There are a handful of small areas on the fringes of the city limits that fall outside the ordinance.

“The City Council has taken a very strong position on public safety,” Assistant City Manager Ken Striplin said. “(We’re) utilizing tools that were provided in Proposition 83.”

By passing the ordinance, the council expanded on restrictions imposed by the passage of Proposition 83 — or Jessica’s Law — in 2006.

The law prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of parks and schools, and gave cities the authority to enact further restrictions.

“We’re looking out for the safety of our families and children,” Mayor Frank Ferry said.

Last January, Los Angeles County applied to unincorporated communities restrictions similar to those approved Tuesday.

County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich initiated an online sex offender locator map in 2002, and that map served as a model for the state’s Megan’s Law Web site, which lists sex offenders’ addresses.

The database can be accessed at www.meganslaw.ca.gov.

Sex offenders are required to register with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station when they move to the valley.

Sheriff’s deputies conduct parole checks several times a year to ensure offenders are in line with the law.

The teams of lawmen visit the listed homes of sex offenders. If the offenders are home, the deputies verify that all identifying information is current and properly registered, including license, address, license plates, occupation, telephone number and even tattoos.

 

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