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Sex Offenders Move To Antioch Area 'Because They Can'

Publication Date: 
August 31, 2009
Source: 
Los Angeles Times
Author: 
Maria L. La Ganga, Maura Dolan and Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Professor Joan Petersilia, an expert in parole reform and prisoner reintegration, explains some of the reasons why sex offenders choose rural areas to reside. The 94509 ZIP code is home to more than 100 registered sex offenders, including Phillip Garrido. The LA Times reports:

Reporting from Antioch, Calif.

Dawn Cordy always knew her neighborhood was an easy place to hide -- a semirural San Francisco suburb where housing is cheap, sheriff's cruisers rarely appear, residents don't snoop and registered sex offenders have found a refuge.

It's a small, scruffy, unincorporated island largely surrounded by the hard-knock city of Antioch, a region synonymous with the foreclosure crisis in the Bay Area but now linked to yet another outrage.

This is where Phillip Garrido, who was charged last week with rape and kidnapping, allegedly held Jaycee Lee Dugard for 18 years and fathered her two children in a warren of tents and soundproofed outbuildings behind his gray cinder-block house on Walnut Avenue.

...

They generally must stay away from schools, parks, churches and places where children congregate, said Joan Petersilia, a law professor and co-director of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center.

Such laws, combined with the high price of housing in California, "push sex offenders to less populated and more rural areas," Petersilia said. "They want a place where they can remain anonymous and people leave them alone."