On campus at Pacific Lutheran University, it’s not unusual to hear warnings against going out at night alone, especially for women.
It’s no secret that PLU is centrally located in a low income neighborhood, which gives rise to on-campus fears of crimes committed by the “Parkland Youth,” but is an even larger situation being ignored?
According to the Pierce County Sheriff’s website, there are six sex offenders living within a half mile of PLU. Two of them live with other sex offenders, and one of them is listed as “Non-Compliant,” which means the county can’t always find him. All of the ofenders are classified as Level Two, which means there is a moderate risk of re-offense.
The most recent statistics from the Bureau of Justice statistics and other independent studies estimate that up to 4% of offenders will re-offend, also known as recidivism. While that might seem like a small percentage, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children states that there are more than 736,000 sex offenders in the United States, meaning that almost 30,000 registered today will have committed another sex crime in three years.
“It’s sobering,” said Kaytlinn Griswold, a senior at PLU. Griswold attended a community dinner in the fall, where she heard from a neighbor about a rape that occurred near her house. “I used to think Parkland was fine, but now I’m really worried to go out alone.”
The idea of the Sex Offender Registry is not to frighten nearby residents, but it’s definitely something that deserves notice, especially in the discussion of safety and security on and around campus.
To find out more, visit the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office website.
The purple dot is PLU, and the yellow dots represent the residences of sex offenders with in a half mile radius. Photo from Pierce County Sheriff Crimewatch website.