BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- When Buffalo’s Common Council meeting is called to order Tuesday afternoon, a local group of parents and community leaders will be calling on the city to be more proactive about its sex offenders.
It’s a ever-changing population that includes some 600 names for the city of Buffalo, and approximately 1,600 Erie County wide.
The problem, according to Keyon Lee, of the Buffalo Center for Prevention and Treatment of Child Sex Abuse, is that not enough of his neighbors know.
“It’s chilling. It’s chilling because you have 600 registered pedophiles in the city of Buffalo, and those are just the registered ones. We’re not talking about the ones that we don’t know about,” Lee told News 4.
Lee, who is helping to lead the charge to change at City Hall, says there’s a disconnect between the information, which can be found online at the New York State Sex Offender Registry, and the people who need it.
“A lot of people are not computer savvy. We have a lot of foreigners in our city, who may not be able to read and write correct English. We need the registration list to be sent out. The disconnect is that they’re not providing this to us,” he said.
The registry provides plenty of detail.
Among the nearly 600 sex offenders in the city is Charles Bloomquist, who’s labeled a sexually violent offender, the highest risk level.
Bloomquist was convicted in 2003 for having sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl in Wyoming County.
The state says Bloomquist knew his victim.
“We have Boys and Girls Clubs around here. Kids go walking up and down the street. We got kids getting off the bus when you have a sex offender that lives right around the corner. But the people in the neighborhood don’t know it because they won’t send out the information,” Lee said.
Council President Darius Pridgen said local legislators hear the concerns. That’s why they voted unanimously to take up the issue.
“Obviously, if there are people concerned, and this is a very serious issue, the council wanted to ensure that the information that we’re getting from citizens needs to be looked at and if it needs to be enhanced to be honest and say we need to make some changes on a city level,” Pridgen told News 4.
That could include using cell phone technology to create an alert system.
Lee and his group want printed pamphlets, but that could be costly, Pridgen said.
“What might be more cost effective if we’re going to give out literature, is give out literature that directs people where to find the information, and then helps people understand what the laws are about how to deal with sex offenders,” he told News 4.
A group of residents is hoping Buffalo’s Common Council can improve the ways in which their neighbors learn about sex offenders living among them.
It’s an issue that is set to be discussed at tomorrow afternoon’s Common Council meeting.
The group, who call themselves the Buffalo Center for Prevention and Treatment of Child Sex Abuse, say not enough people know about the city’s 600 or so registered sex offenders.
The information is widely available online at the state’s sex offender registry.
It’s detailed and it’s updated regularly.
But the group says that leaves out part of the city’s population, and they could be the most vulnerable.
“A lot of people are not computer savvy. We have a lot of foreigners in our city, who may not be able to read and write correct English. We need the registration list to be sent out. The disconnect is that they’re not providing this to us,” Lee told News 4.
“If you’re a parent, if you’re a big brother, big sister, I encourage you to please come out and voice your opinion. Let it be known that you don’t want to live in this neighborhood anymore feeling unsafe.” he said.