TAMPA, Fla. — It’s been an ongoing item on Tampa City Council’s agenda for years. Residents in one Ybor neighborhood are fighting to get some kind of action about the number of sexual predators in the area.
What You Need To Know
- Some council members agree that something needs to be done about the number of sex predators in one Ybor neighborhood
- No decision on what to do was made Thursday, but a workshop is scheduled for Nov. 30
- During that next workshop, council members will hear from experts on real estate, housing, code enforcement, and re-entry services
On Thursday, council members heard new studies and facts from the University of South Florida and Tampa Police Department about the issue.
Frustration seems to be the only way to describe it from some of the speakers, while others don’t see it as an issue. But one resident says she’s living near dozens of sex predators. She says the problem has progressed over the years, and still, no action has been taken to mediate the issue.
Kelly Grimsdale prepared her notes before speaking to the council in hopes that this time her words will turn into action.
“Every single time they’ve had workshops, nothing ever happens, and it’s ‘OK, thanks for coming,'” she said.
Grimesdale lives within a couple of blocks of 70 sex offenders near North Nebraska in Ybor, in what she says are only a few houses.
“It doesn’t make me feel safe,” she said. “I mean, these people are walking in the neighborhood, and I think it causes a stigma for the neighborhood.”
She says it’s been on city agendas since 2012 and again today.
“We have such a concentration of them there, who is going to want to live knowing that they are there,” she said.
Council members heard findings from a study done by the University of South Florida and the Tampa Police Department on sex offenders in the area.
“If it means having a recidivism program, if it means saying ten Hail Marys, whatever it is, let’s get the job done because the number one issue is the protection of the vulnerable,” said Luis Viera, Tampa City Councilman District 7.
While no decision was made Thursday, there will be a workshop on Nov. 30 to continue the discussion. During that next workshop, council members will hear from experts on real estate, housing, code enforcement, and re-entry services.
Just last week, it was announced that Ybor City’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade would be moved to downtown, with organizers saying they want to make the event more “family-friendly.” According to our partners at the Tampa Bay Times, residents voiced concern about losing the revenue that event typically brings to that neighborhood.