There are 28 registered sex offenders living in the city of Palo Alto right now, including two who are homeless. But if you check the website showing where sex offenders live, just 12 pop up on the map.
The site is the result of “Megan’s Law” which was passed in 1996 following the rape and murder of a child by a convicted sex offender who lived right across the street. Megan’s family was unaware of their neighbor’s criminal past.
The reason that the majority of registered sex offenders don’t show up on the map is simple, according to Detective Anjanette Holler of the Palo Alto Police Department’s Sexual Assault Unit. Sex crimes fall into different classes depending upon their severity. The most serious criminals are shown on the map including their name, the crime for which they were convicted and their exact address. The next class of criminals is identified by zip code only and the final group is not posted at all.
Regardless of their crime, the sex offenders must register with PAPD each year within five days of their birthdays. Transients are required to register each month. In Palo Alto, it’s not a quick and easy process. Det. Holler spends considerable time interviewing each person, finding out about the crimes committed and their lives today. “We have the resources to handle these cases,” she said in an interview Friday. “We closely engage with our sex offenders to know where they are and what they’re doing.”
- 4200 block of El Camino Real
- 800 block of San Jude Ave.
- 500 block of Everett Ave.
- 900 block of Bryant St.
- 4200 block of Los Palos Ave.
- 400 block of Emerson St.
- 700 block of Alma St.
- 3900 block of El Camino Real
- 900 block of Industrial Ave.
- 300 block of Calcaterra Place
- 2400 block of Ross Rd.
- 800 block of Forest Ave.
If you breathed a sigh of relief because your street isn’t listed, you may be a bit uneasy by a 2011 Santa Clara County Grand Jury Report which found that “approximately 50% of Santa Clara County’s registered sex offenders are transients, often living in homeless encampments.” The report detailed the difficulties of tracking these offenders.
Det. Holler acknowledges that since Palo Alto provides generous services to the homeless and mentally impaired, many transients are drawn to the city. Transient sex offenders could register with another police agency and then come into Palo Alto without having to report themselves.
The Megan’s Law website offers parenting tips and resources for safeguarding children. The grand jury report noted “Law enforcement can only do so much. Parents have a responsibility to monitor their children’s activity and know what is going on in their neighborhood.”
Det. Holler echoes the sentiment, “ I always tell people it’s about parenting and awareness. It’s not just stranger-danger, it’s often the people they know who are a danger.”
Also on Palo Alto Patch:
Police Praise Brave Woman Who Fought Attacker
Woman Attacked in Her Own Home
Trampolines Recalled Due to Injury Hazard
Pricey Palo Alto Homes: Under $7 million
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