Coming soon to a TV near you: Sexually violent predators in Aurora

The city of Aurora could start advertising the moves of its sexually violent predators on the local cable access station, The Aurora Sentinel reports. The police department wants to broadcast the required notifications because attendance at neighborhood meetings has plummeted, Lt. Bob Stef told a city council policy committee Tuesday.

A state law passed in 2006 requires police to notify the surrounding community when a sexually violent predator moves in. A judge or parole board determines whether to brand any sex offender a sexually violent predator based on a set of criteria, including whether the criminal was a stranger or established a relationship in order to assault the victim, and whether the criminal scores high enough on tests that assess deviancy or lack of remorse.

Police departments across the state regularly set community meetings — here’s an outline Denver uses to introduce sexually violent predators to the neighborhood [PDF] — but lately Aurora has had trouble getting neighbors interested. In fact, no one showed up at a Dec. 17 meeting, Stef said, despite the department spending $650 to send out postcards announcing the get-together. That’s where the city’s cable access station comes in:

The time slots on KACT-TV Channel 8 would be used for sexual violent predator updates, as well as other department-related bulletins like recruitment updates, advisories and other items.

The city council committee held off approving the move, saying it wanted time to review the format for the broadcast.

It might also want to review the law, which requires the notifications “only occur under carefully controlled circumstances,” which might not include children flipping through channels to see what’s on TV.

Here’s the notification provision of the Colorado Sexually Violent Predators law:

16-13-901. Legislative declaration.

The general assembly hereby finds that persons who are convicted of offenses involving unlawful sexual behavior and who are identified as sexually violent predators pose a high enough level of risk to the community that persons in the community should receive notification concerning the identity of these sexually violent predators. The general assembly also recognizes the high potential for vigilantism that often results from community notification and the dangerous potential that the fear of such vigilantism will drive a sex offender to disappear and attempt to live without supervision. The general assembly therefore finds that sex offender notification should only occur in cases involving a high degree of risk to the community and should only occur under carefully controlled circumstances that include providing additional information and education to the community concerning supervision and treatment of sex offenders. [emphasis added]

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