Disturbing new information released about the number of registered sex offenders living in downtown Hamilton. The data was released by Queen’s Park and shows one area of the city’s downtown has the highest concentration of registered sex offenders in the province. There are more than 350 sex offenders living in the city of Hamilton. The information was obtained by Global News after a ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada. Here’s a look.
This is the stretch of Hamilton with the highest concetration of sex offenders in southern Ontario — York Boulevard from the city centre west.
Much of it a residential area of houses, apartments and schools.
The news of the high number of sex offenders in the neighbourhood is making people uneasy.
“Sometimes people change but usually they don’t. If they did it once they could do it again. And I don’t want to be around that.”
“You’re always worried about things happening, untoward things.”
“I guess it’s dangerous, it doesn’t, I guess for girls it’s kind of scary to be walking around the neighbourhood because of the sex offenders right?”
“Extremely uncomfortable knowing that there’s sex offenders around yeah, yeah.”
The registry was set up to deal with dangerous, high-risk offenders, so police know where they are.
Their addresses are not usually released. The latest statistics refer only to postal codes.
In the overall city of Hamilton, of the 350 registered sex offenders, 200 live below the mountain. Sex offenders who’ve done their time in prison or been convicted with no jail time.
Jason Farr: “In terms of how the community may relate to this particular statistic I cant think of any one person that would be happy to see we’re on the map with 200 sex offenders in a fairly centralized lower city area at all.”
Councillors like Jason Farr have just been getting the figures, and says they can start asking questions now about why this is happening and what to do next: “This conversation is just starting. This information is going to be disturbring to some.”
The York Boulevard stretch includes a halfway house for convicts making the transition from prison to life on the outside.
Under pressure from the city, it’s going to be closing by the end of the year and Farr says that will bring down the number of sex offenders in that stretch of Hamilton.
But that has just 24 beds. A small part of the overall figure. While the police know about the registry, the politicians are just finding out. I talked to Mayor Bob Bratina about this today. He’s issued a statement saying he’s “profoundly disappointed not to have had a report on this from the responsible agencies.” He says the city needs to to hear from them on the degree of risk that exists to city residents.