New York Safe, But Not Safe Enough

May 16, 2005

New York is currently ranked among the safest large states in the nation. While we should be proud of this distinction, much more remains to be done. I believe we need to work harder to further reduce violent crime and other illegal activities to ensure that New York remains a safe place to live, work and raise our families.

"Excelsior 2005," the Assembly minority guide to making positive changes for our state, solidifies our conference’s position of "zero tolerance" for sex crimes and violence against women and children. The plan’s first phase is aimed at combating sexual violence against children, while the second part seeks to enact the Violence Against Women Prevention Act of 2005. These proposals are designed to better protect women and children and to deliver a clear message to criminals that the eradication of these brutal assaults is a high priority for state government. We must do more to prevent violence against women and children, and to strengthen existing laws, such as Megan’s Law, that are designed to protect families.

The Sex Offender Registration Act of 1996, more commonly known as "Megan’s Law," established registration and notification provisions and requires classification of convicted sex offenders using a three-tier system: Levels 1, 2 and 3 are low-, moderate- and high-risk offenders, respectively. The levels increase as the offenders’ risk to the community and public increases. A level of notification recommendation is made to the sentencing court before each offender’s prison release.

My Assembly minority colleagues and I believe Megan’s Law is an effective measure, but that it needs to be stronger. We believe all information on all registered sex offenders should be accessible to the public, that convicted sex offenders should be required to submit updated photos each year, and it should be the state’s priority and responsibility to ensure offenders remain registered.

This is just one improvement my conference and I will promote as another way to protect our children. New York may be one of the safest large states in the nation, but no state is safe enough, and our children and women are never safe enough from dangerous predators.