Assistant Professor of Criminology and Justice Studies, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
- Resident restrictions in New York were found ineffective at incapacitating sex crimes committed against children or adults, likely because they seek to increase the spatial distance between registered sex offenders and victims, who are strangers, whereas most sex crimes occur between acquaintances.
- Residence restrictions were associated with a general deterrence effect for sex crimes committed against adults but were not associated with decrease arrests for sex crimes committed against child victims.
In the article, “The Efficacy of County-Level Sex Offender Residence Restrictions in New York,” Socia examined whether county residence restrictions for registered sex offenders were associated with reduced sex crime arrest rates in New York State. The study collected monthly data on all 62 counties in the state of New York between January 1998 and December 2009. Results indicated that residence restrictions were not associated with significantly reduced arrests for sex crimes committed either by registered sex offenders (regardless of victim) or by non-registered sex offenders against child victims. However, results suggested that these policies may be associated with a general deterrence effect, resulting in a decrease of sex crimes against adults by first-time sex offenders. The findings of this study suggest that unique mechanisms may be influencing certain types of sex crimes and not others. Given these mixed findings, it is important for future research to separate sex crimes committed against child victims from those committed against adult victims.