H-LOMPOC

Apr 18, 2012 3:22 AM by Ariel Wesler

Lompoc city leaders pass stricter sex offender ordinance

The city of Lompoc is cracking down on sex offenders in the community,hoping to keep them farther away from children.

City leaders unanimously passed a new ordinance at Tuesday night's city council meeting to clarify and expand Jessica's Law. The current law prohibits sex offenders from living within 2000 feet of any park or school.

Back in November, Santa Maria passed a similar ordinance clarifying Jessica's Law as a 2000 foot straight line in every direction from any park or school.

City leaders did that to keep a sexually violent predator out of town. Lompoc's matches Santa Maria's with a few additions.

Lompoc's ordinance prevents sex offenders from not only living near parks or schools, but also within 2000 feet of any childcare center, public library, commercial establishment that provides a playground, any location that holds classes or group activities for children, and any school bus stop.

The Lompoc Police Department says clarifying the law will help protect children in the community and reduce opportunities for sex criminals likely to re-offend.

"We've seen some case decisions in the courts that have interpreted Jessica's Law very loosely and this just gives the intent of Jessica's Law that the 2000-foot limit is exactly that," said Lompoc Police Chief Tim Dabney.

The ordinance also establishes a 300-foot child safety zone around all those previously mentioned to prevent loitering

Jessica's Law has always given cities authority to further restrict where sex offenders can live. However, some people feel by making sex offenders outcasts, they could actually become more likely to re-offend.

The new ordinance takes effect June 1.

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