New bright red signs are being posted in the yards of certain homes in Bradford County, Florida. While that might sound festive, it’s actually far, far from it. The signs indicate that a sexual predator lives at that residence. So far, the county has placed 18 signs around the area that read, “[Full Name] is a convicted Sexual Predator and lives at this location.”
According to GTN News, under Florida Statue 775.21, law enforcement may “inform the community and the public of the presence of a sexual predator,” so while the signs are legal, they are nonetheless shocking to some.
Bradford County resident Andrew Thomas Jr. said of his neighbor’s sign, “It just astounded me really. It’s like twenty feet behind our house. That’s just scary. Dude could be like watching out his back window looking at us.”
The dude most certainly could be — and that’s exactly why local law enforcement believe these signs are vital if they want to protect the children of Bradford County from predators.
“This is all about keeping our community safe and to make sure we don’t have one more victim of a sexual crime in my community as long as I’m the sheriff,” said Sheriff Gordon Smith of the Bradford Co. Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Smith said there wasn’t really a better option when it came to identifying the potential offenders. He told WCJB, “We took all of the counties our size, we looked at them, we said…You know our neighboring counties of equivalent populations…Apples to apples, we’ve got more sexual predators than all those other counties combined. And my job as a sheriff is to protect the children. And I’ll stop at nothing to make sure that they are protected.”
In Florida, a sexual predator is classified as someone who has been convicted of a first-degree felony sex crime, or two second-degree felony sex crimes.
Moms, how do you feel about these signs? Tell us in the comments below.