Sex Offenders on the Rise in Rural Counties
By: Atlanta Northcutt --- Reporter for the Southern Standard
A recent study by ASecureLife.com has revealed the states with the most sex offenders per capita via the sex offender registry. Tennessee is in the top 10 of states with the most sex offenders, ranking No. 9 with 359 registered sex offenders per 100,000 people.
Data was obtained by ASecureLife.com from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, including all sex offenders registered in the state as of Dec. 4, 2018.
Sex offenders can’t live or work within 1,000 feet of a school, park, daycare or other location where children are frequently pre-sent. This creates a problem for those in urban areas who then tend to move to rural locations, such as Warren and surrounding counties.
Tom Miner is the 31st district's assistant attorney specializing in all crimes against children. Miner has worked in the district attorney’s office since 1990.
“I don’t really know what’s going on, but I think part of the problem is that sex offenders may move from urban areas to rural areas due to the sex offender registration conditions, and I know they move to certain places seeking employment,” said Miner. “One of the things affecting Warren County was a major employer hiring sex offenders, which isn’t a problem, but there were a lot of people who came here seeking employment because they weren’t able to obtain it in other places.”
Miner noted the business is no longer a place where sex offenders are allowed to work.
If an individual is on the sex offender registry, the person can move for employment, but that move must be reported to the offender’s registering officer. The officer makes sure the place of employment is not within 1,000 feet of a location where children are commonly present.
When it comes to the amount of registered sex offenders, Miner states some of the offenses could’ve occurred in another location, and the individuals who committed those offenses moved to rural Tennessee counties from other states.
Locally, there has been an increase in sexual crimes involving adults in Warren County, while there has been a decrease nationally.
“The increase in crime statistics is often a result of better reporting instead of an increase in actual crime,” says Miner.