Bill aims to create sex offender child-safety zones

THE BRONX - Level 3 sex offenders may soon be banned from living within 1,000 feet of places where children congregate, under proposed legislation.

City Council Minority Leader James Oddo and council members James Vacca and Joseph Addabbo introduced the bill last week. Under the proposal, the city's most dangerous sex offenders, deemed most likely to commit similar crimes, could not live near a school or park.

Violators of the bill would face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Critics of the new proposal argue it's unconstitutional because it limits housing availability in a city where affordable housing is already scarce. A 2005 proposal that would have required Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders live at least a quarter-mile away from school and parks failed.

A recent state Division of Criminal Justice Services audit found New York is doing a poor job of keeping track of registered sex offenders. Officials found the agency notified local police about offenders who failed to register, but failed to follow up with police.

AP wire reports contributed to this report.

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