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Florida sting operation targets sex registration violations

Florida authorities recently launched a two-day sting operation they named "Take Back the Night." According to officials, the operation targeted sex offenders in violation of sex offender registration requirements. Officials conducted the operation by performing 60 registration checks on sexual offenders and predators. The checks led to the arrests of 39 individuals.

One rationale behind the registration requirement is recidivism. Lawmakers believe it deters repeat offenses by requiring convicted sex offenders to keep local authorities informed of their whereabouts and online profiles. For that reason, a failure to register can carry stiff penalties under Florida law, perhaps rising to the level of a third degree felony.

That's harsh punishment, indeed, considering that a failure to register may be similar to a probation violation, except for the nature of the underlying offense. In a similar vein, the name of this particular sting operation also seems inflammatory. Is it fair to imply that the failure to register -- which can result from a mistake as simple as failing to contact authorities after moving to a new house -- makes the night unsafe?

Said another way, were offenders the only thing making the nights unsafe in Florida? Even a cursory check of Florida criminal history records proves that assertion false. There are many arrests for many other types of violent crimes throughout the state.

The title of the sting operation may reveal the bias that sex offenders often face from authorities. Without the aide of a sex crimes lawyer, many defendants accused of such crimes might face an uphill battle. An attorney can ensure that the legal playing field remains level.

Source: wtsp.com, "Tampa Police arrest 39 in sex offender sting, Operation 'Take Back the Night,'" Taylor Katz, April 2, 2013

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