A Patch.com article entitled “Sex Offenders: How Illinois Ranks On Registry,” published June 27, 2019, proclaims that Illinois ranks 25th, smack dab in the middle of the list for most registered persons per capita. The article cited ASecureLife, a private website that reviews (and promotes) various security products. In turn, ASecureLife cited the stats from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The statistic has no real meaning, quite frankly. In 2011, Indiana, the state next to Illinois, endured the tragic murder of Aliahna Lemmon. The media focused on the trailer park where Lemmon resided because many registered persons resided in the same park; the media made it a point to dig up Aliahna’s grandfather’s sex offense. The person who eventually confessed to the murder was the babysitter with no prior sex offense arrest and was not on any sex offense registry. In June 2019, NY child Patrick Alford, Jr., went missing; the news media reported, “Convicted sex offenders living nearby were sought, but nothing panned out.”
While we like to turn our attention to people on the registry during these tragic cases, studies have shown that most sex crimes occur in the home by someone known to the victim, and rarely will that person have a prior criminal record. That is why “sex offender sweeps” and focusing on concentrations of registered persons in a certain area do not lead to any unique threat to children.