A study conducted of sexual crimes in New York by Jeffrey Sandler, Kelly Socia, and Naomi Freeman in 2008 found more than 95 percent of registerable sexual offenses and more than 94 percent of sexual offenses against children in the state are committed by first-time offenders. The researchers reviewed more than 170,000 charged sexual offenses in the state between 1986 and 2006.
Despite the fact that the federal and many state governments have enacted registration and community notification laws as a means to better protect communities from sexual offending, limited empirical research has been conducted to examine the impact of such legislation on public safety. Therefore, utilizing time-series analyses, this study examined differences in sexual offense arrest rates before and after the enactment of New York State’s Sex Offender Registration Act. Results provide no support for the effectiveness of registration and community notification laws in reducing sexual offending by: (a) rapists, (b) child molesters, (c) sexual recidivists, or (d) first-time sex offenders. Analyses also showed that over 95% of all sexual offense arrests were committed by first-time sex offenders, casting doubt on the ability of laws that target repeat offenders to meaningfully reduce sexual offending. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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