Fifty-four sex offenders live within two miles of the Santa Barbara Independent’s Figueroa Street offices. Their mugshots, height, weight, ethnicity, eye color, home addresses, criminal charges, and date they were released from jail are listed on the Megan’s Law website. That is about to change.
California lawmakers voted last year to reduce the length of time required for sex-offender registration. This means a sizeable number of Santa Barbara County registrants will no longer be tracked or publicly identified.
“It’s like putting a GPS on every shark in the ocean because one might attack a swimmer,” said Laura Arnold, a deputy public defender in Riverside and expert on sex offender registration laws. “Does it make the public safer? Probably not,” said Arnold, who was in Santa Barbara this week for a law seminar.