Norwich Residents Concerned About Sex Offenders in Town

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Norwich residents are concerned about the concentration of sex offenders in town, particularly in the Greeneville neighborhood. (Published Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013)

    Norwich residents are concerned about the number of sex offenders in town, several of which are concentrated in a neighborhood full of children and teens.

    According to police, four of the city's 75 registered sex offenders live on a stretch of Central Avenue, which borders a park in the Greeneville section of town.

    "I'm appalled," said Norwich resident Melanie Silva. "I'm a parent of four. This playground here is a hub for teenage and young children."

    Silva said she hasn't had any direct contact with the sex offenders, and neither has her personal trainer, Jessica Doubleday, who opened a studio in a garage facing the park. But they're worried nonetheless, and Doubleday said the park has been so problematic, she circulated a petition asking for an overhaul.

    "There's no lighting in this playground, there's no bathrooms in this playground, and there's people walking around with open-bottled liquor and there's people walking around that are selling drugs, and it's very obvious," she said.

    Doubleday said Norwich police do tend to keep an eye on the park, but she worries about what nightfall may bring.

    "With that many people around that are sex offenders, you never know when something is gonna happen," she said.

    Norwich officials met Monday with State Sen. Cathy Osten of Sprague, who is pushing for reform and hopes to to develop proposals by late winter. 

    "We will be looking at the rules revolving around parole and probation to see what we can impact there," said Osten. "Many of the sex offenders that are identified are not controlled by the state any longer."

    Osten said some are beyond probation or parole and are living with family or on their own. She said she also wants to see more information reported on the state police website regarding the sex offenders' crimes.

    Meanwhile, city officials are considering a review their land use laws to try to avoid having so many registered sex offenders in one area.