City Council to Seek More Research for Mayor's Proposed Sex Offender Restrictions

Categories: City Hall, Crime


After receiving the presentation from the city attorney's office and the Dallas Police Department that we told you about on Monday, the Dallas City Council affirmed its unanimous distaste for sex offenders but raised questions about whether the city should enact tougher restrictions on where registered offenders can live.

See also: City Council to Consider New Residency Restrictions for Sex Offenders. Will They Work?

"We need to make sure that we're not watching one segment on the TV news and considering ourselves experts on a complex subject," council member Philip Kingston said, in reference to the May WFAA report that sparked Mayor Mike Rawlings' action on the issue.

The presentation outlined the city's current, limited restrictions on the movement of registered sex offenders and highlighted ordinances in other cities and states that might serve as a model for Dallas.

Jerry Allen wanted more from the presentation and seemed frustrated when informed by a DPD representative that there was no empirical evidence that imposing the restrictions would lower recidivism among registered sex offenders.

"I don't care about what the other cities have done," he said. Following their lead would make Dallas "nothing but parrots."

Research on the exclusion zones created by residency restrictions like those being considered has shown that, rather than reducing reoffense rates, the restrictions are actually more likely to create new problems.

One of those unintended consequences can be clustering of offenders in the few remaining areas where they can live. Rick Callahan was worried about that happening in his Pleasant Grove district were distance requirements to be imposed, a valid concern given the area's low rents and lack of density.

"Let's do this because it's going to do some good," he said, "not because it looks good."

The council universally supported looking at the issue in committee hearings, so that any eventual ordinance would be both beneficial and financially feasible for the city.

"What I'm hearing from this is that there's enough interest that we need to do more work on it," Rawlings said.

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Councilman Allen appears to be a very wise and thoughtful man, a man who thinks in more than one dimension. By asking proponents of this ordinance to provide evidence in the form of empirical research that residency restrictions makes communities safer and being that wasn't any, he effectively pulled the wool off this aspect of the registry debate and showed it to be exactly what it is: a feel good policy that sucks up tax payer dollars like a vaccum cleaner. In addition, divert police resources that should target real threats to communities. Thank you councilman Allen for such a probing question.


"no empirical evidence that imposing the restrictions would lower recidivism among registered sex offenders."

So that mean there aren't ANY report.. so thank you for being SMART on this one 

Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

One should check "city staff"...just saying.


Dallas and all communities considering any new legislation need to, first and foremost, take a vow that they will pass no laws nor enact any ordinances that are not supported by facts and evidence. No one looking at what research shows about residency restrictions would vote for them.

holmantx topcommenter

Restrict domiciles of the following categories only:

Rape of a minor by an adult when the child is prepubescent or pubescent.

Rape of a minor where the age difference is 20 years or more.

you may add to the list.


@mcdallas @layinglow123 

this is a copy and paste statement! 

This research has made it CLEAR that:

 The sexual recidivism rate of identified sex offenders is lower than the recidivism rate of individuals who have committed any other type of crime except for murder. 

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