Previously, the city followed Florida statutes that provided that certain sexual offenders and predators may not establish a residence within 1,000 feet of locations where children regularly congregate in concentrated numbers. The locations include schools, designated bus stops, childcare facilities, parks, playgrounds and community centers.
Crestview’s new ordinance prohibits certain sexual offenders and predators from establishing a residence within 1,500 feet of such locations within the city.
A sexual offender is someone who has been convicted of a qualifying sexual offense, such as sexual battery, in Florida or another jurisdiction, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Repeat sexual offenders, sexual offenders who use physical violence, and sexual offenders who prey on children are sexual predators, according to the Florida statutes.
At the council’s previous meeting on Aug. 28, Crestview Police Chief Stephen McCosker gave a presentation that showed 88 registered sexual offenders and eight sexual predators lived in Crestview.
“The city is continually becoming an increasingly attractive place of residence for families with children, increasing the need to improve methods to protect them,” McCosker, who began serving as the city’s police chief a little more than four years ago, said in a Sept. 11 report to the council. “The high level of threat that sexual predators and offenders present to the public safety, and the long-term effects suffered by victims of sex offenses, provide the city with sufficient justification to implement a strategy.”
There are some exceptions to the new ordinance. For example, someone who was a minor when he/she committed a sexual offense and was not convicted as an adult does not have to abide by the new ordinance.
People can visit the FDLE website, https://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/sops/search.jsf, to find sexual offenders/predators in their area.