TAMPA — The presence of about 140 sexual offenders and predators in a one mile radius around V.M. Ybor has long been a worry for parents in the eclectic, mixed-income neighborhood.
Drawing many of the offenders are cheap rooming houses on Nebraska Avenue where tenants sleep in bunk beds in shared rooms. Some properties have upward of 30 bunks and are far enough away from schools and day care centers for offenders to comply with laws that restrict where they live.
Parents in the neighborhood say the rooming houses violate a countywide ban on offenders living together and they want Tampa police to start enforcing the law.
That won’t start any time soon.
Tampa Police Department officials told City Council members Thursday they have no intention of enforcing a ban they say may be unconstitutional and would make it tougher to track the whereabouts of offenders.
Several laws restricting where sex offenders live have been overturned in the courts, Detective John Guzina told council members. Research also shows there is no evidence that offenders living together creates greater danger for a community, he said.
“Based on the totality of research and our legal concerns, we are going to maintain the status quo with our enforcement of sex offenders,” Guzina said.