Assemblywoman Scores Big Win To Track Sex Offenders

Project KIDSAFE approved by Public Safety Committee

SACRAMENTO—Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia (R-Cathedral City) received unanimous support today from the Assembly Public Safety Committee to create local task forces to help track sexual predators.

AB 784 would appropriate $15 million to fund the Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Teams (SAFE Teams) to closely monitor registered sex offenders. The funds will be used to help local police agencies to track offenders released into the community, and to ensure they are properly registered and living within the guidelines established by the courts.

Sexual predators are known to be habitual offenders and are very mobile. Just last week Jessica Lunsford, a nine year old Florida girl, was raped and murdered by a convicted sex offender that was not being tracked properly by the State of Florida. Assemblywoman Garcia, a parent of two children and strong supporter of law enforcement, wants to make sure this does not happen in California.

According to the Department of Justice, as of January 1, 2003, there were 98,910 sex offenders registered in California with over 33,000 offenders (approximately 33%) failing to comply with registration requirements. Of these, 79,045 are serious offenders and 1,812 are high-risk sex offenders. The average offender molests 30-60 children before their first arrest and an average of 360-380 in their lifetime.

Assemblywoman Garcia commented, “Changes in Megan’s Law now tell us where these predators live—now we must take it a step further. We have to give our police officers the tools they need to keep our children safe and to deliver the message to these sick animals that we will not allow one more victim.”

AB 784 is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, where if approved, proceeds to the Assembly floor.