NEIGHBORS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT (Largest clusters of sex offenders are concentrated across the South Shore of Long Island in low-income communities)

According to New York State Sex Offender Registry data, more than a dozen clusters of sex offenders have developed across the southern half of Long Island.  Of these, the eight largest clusters including the biggest in Coram/Gordon Heights, which was profiled in Newsday last month, have anywhere from 11 to 39 registered sex offenders within a one-mile radius.  These large clusters are in communities that are strikingly similar - populated with lower-income residents than the towns and hamlets of the pricey North Shore or eastern Suffolk County, where such clusters are nonexistent, and offering an abundance of cheap rentals.  Excluding Coram/Gordon Heights, the Hempstead cluster has the most offenders, 27, followed by a cluster straddling the Freeport-Roosevelt border with 21.  Interview's with a number of residents and politicians in these communities who that many don't know about these clusters.  Suffolk DSS officials have said decisions about housing rest with offenders, not the agency.  {Social services} is taking an arms-length approach...when they should have developed a policy where they wouldn't have clustering, said Laura Ahearn, executive director of the advocacy group Parents for Megan's Law.  In a response to public outcry, Babylon Town officials joined with Parents for Megan's Law to successfully bar the owner of the Brook Motel from housing offenders and the motel stopped accepting them.  


- The public can find out if someone is on the registry by calling 1-800-262-3257 and providing the name of the offender and one of the following: an exact address, a complete date of birth, a driver's license number of a Social Security number.

- The public also can access the registry on its Web site,  Once there, click on the Search Level 3 Subdirectory link.  After certifying that he or she has read the disclaimer, the user can search for Level 2 and Level 3 offenders by name, county or zip code.

- After finding an offender, the site also can produce a map showing the location of the address.

(New York)