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The study plotted sex offender addresses in the state Division of Criminal Justice Services database against school locations in the five boroughs, charting density by borough and ZIP codes, and Weiner's office says it is the most comprehensive assessment of where sex offenders live in relation to schools. In Queens, which is home to between 400 and 500 sex offenders, at least 145 live within two blocks of a school, Weiner said.Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School PS 81 in Bushwick, Brooklyn, has the most sex offenders nearby -six within two blocks - including Jeffrey Norwood, a "sexually violent" offender convicted in 1998 of raping a 10-year-old girl, and Willie Hodges, whose apartment building across the street overlooks the school playground."Keeping our kids safe is an ongoing effort that demands greater vigilance, especially near schools," Weiner said. "We need to do more to track offenders, enforce existing laws and arm parents with tools to protect their children from sex offenders."According to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services database, 138 feet away from Our Lady of Perpetual Help school in Richmond Hill lives Lee Coyne, who was convicted of sexually abusing a young boy.In light of high recidivism rates among sex offenders-52 percent of child molesters and 39 percent of rapists are charged with another sex offense within 25 years of their release from prison-Weiner and U.S. Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-Brooklyn) have proposed a six-point plan to minimize the risk to children.The plan includes establishing a federal grant program to monitor sex offenders, using GPS to track those that live within two blocks of schools, creating a national task force for reducing sex offenses, expanding the search capabilities of the sex offender database, cracking down on those that change address but fail to register with the state, and requiring registration of online identities such as MySpace accounts.Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.
©2007 Community Newspaper Group
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