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Sex offender clusters impacting Va. neighborhoods

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Virginia Sex Offender Registry

Virginia Sex Offender Registry

Virginia Sex Offender Registry

FARMVILLE, Va. (WTVR) – If you live near four or more registered sex offenders, you will have a more difficult time selling your home. In a published study, researchers at Longwood University found homes that sat within a quarter-mile of a “sex offender cluster” were on the market as much as 147 percent longer than other homes.

The longer a home stays on the market, the more pressure it puts on homeowners to drop the asking price.

“We wanted to know if sex offenders cluster and if that has an effect on home prices,” Dr. Ray Brastow, professor of economics, said. “The answer to both questions is yes.”

Dr. Ray Brastow and his colleagues used data from nearly 20,000 Virginia real listings between 1999 and 2009. The researchers said they focused the study on the Lynchburg area.

Their findings attributed the clustering of sex offenders to several factors:

Lower home prices. Lower prices draw more potential buyers, especially buyers less concerned about living near a sex offender — namely —  other registered sex offenders, the study found.

Development choices. Some neighborhoods have made choices that would prevent sex offenders from moving in.

“We know this is something that people talk about,” Brastow said. “There are certain places that sex offenders can’t live—near schools, daycare centers and parks, for example. Because of this, some neighborhoods are creating small parks, called ‘pocket parks,’ or fighting school closings.”

Living near (one-fourth of a mile) one, two or three registered sex offenders, researchers found, can impact home prices as those homes stay on the market nearly two months longer than the average house.

“However, with four sex offenders, the situation changes dramatically,” Dr. Bennie Waller, professor of finance and real estate, said. “Here we find the ‘tipping’ point, the number at which people get panicky and a neighborhood takes an economic turn for the worse.”

A search of the Virginia Sex Offender Registry on where offenders live and work yielded the following results:

  • Richmond = 972
  • Henrico = 325
  • Chesterfield = 288
  • Hanover = 97


  • pachrismith

    That residency restrictions were not listed among the causes for clustering is indefensible. Most likely it was listed in the report but omitted in the article because the reporter, Scott Wise, favors residency restrictions and didn’t want to cast any dispersion on them. All research finds them ineffective at best, contributing to homelessness – a huge factor increasing risk of recidivism at worst. Actually, research in Minnesota has tied residency restrictions to a two-times increase in recidivism. It is understood that no one cares that registrants constitutional, civil and human rights are tranpled without valid justification, but no one should be complacent when it can be demonstrated that these laws are directly contributing to increasing the number of victims of child sexual assault rather than reducing it.
    Articles like this serve only to distract from the real issues – reducing the number of children victimized – with the outrage of not being able to sell your home because of the registrant. Which do you consider more important. And if more articles were written explaining the whole truth, selling these homes would be less of a problem. Of course there are always those who don’t want to be confused with fact.

  • Michael C Holder

    Well if these people where repeating they would be in prison. People make mistakes. If we where to lock up all sex offenders for the small things the prisons would be over run. Not saying what they did was right but if what they did was very bad they would be in for life. But if they are out they did the time and most do not repeat.

    • Tony Bernst

      Seriously. “Becky” is just yet another clueless person. “Sex offenders” are not being “caught” and “released”. Only a very small percentage reoffend (something I’m sure “Becky” is COMPLETELY ignorant of) and when they do, they are put in prison for a very long time.

      So “sex offenders” are not being caught and then given short prison terms. It’s just not happening. It is happening for probably nearly every other type of criminal though. And we just can’t seem to even get those people Registered. I guess because people who shot other people and similar things like that just aren’t “dangerous”.

  • J.D.

    Stop listing nonviolent offenders on the registry and you can have your home prices back up really fast. Tell your state representatives the registry has been overblown with low-level nonviolent offenders who are not dangerous to the public. Many other states have figured this out, but VA is still being boneheaded. Look at what it’s costing you.

  • James Ambition

    There are 8 times the number of people that have done something sexually that you don’t know about. There are 800,000 registered, so there are another 6 million you don’t know about, enough of this drum beating already. How’s Uncle Henry? People need to get a life. Focus on how you can help your neighbor, not criticize.

  • Tony Bernst

    The Sex Offender Registries are not really about “public safety” or “protecting children”. Today, we know that they are for harassing families and having nanny big government, along with all the government jobs they create. How often do we hear government people tell us just how much we need the Registries and how we need more government to “protect” us? Anyone ever heard someone who gets their paychecks from government say the Registries are a bad idea?

    Most people that “suffer” because of “sex offender” clusters are probably people who support the nanny big government Registries so I could not be happier when they have trouble selling their homes. I hope it keeps them up at night and they suffer forever.

    Things like this are primarily what the Registries are doing for us. We don’t need the Registries for public safety. If we did, what are the excuses that we don’t have a hundred other different types of Registries? The Sex Offender Witch Hunt is transparent.

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