Do you know what public housing is?
According to Dictionary.com:
“Housing owned or operated by a government and usually offered at low rent to the needy.”
Do you know anyone who lives in public housing? I do. In fact, a close family member and her 14-year-old daughter live in HUD apartments due to the mom’s physical disability. Do I think it’s a safe environment for them? No! Many of her neighbors look like people that should be in jail or may have recently been released from jail. Yet, it’s not uncommon for her teenaged girl to walk their small dog by herself or take the garbage out at night in the dark, alone. Does this worry me? You bet!
There is no real way to know all about the backgrounds of those living in the HUD apartments with the mom and daughter. I did go to one site – familywatchdog.us – and entered her Zip Code and found 107 mapped sex offenders and 24 un-mapped offenders. Fortunately, the map didn’t show any registered sex offenders in their HUD apartment, but there are several in the neighborhood behind them, two of which are listed as ‘offenses against children’.
Looking at the map provided by the familywatchdog.us website I found a number of sex offenders living very close to elementary schools. There is one that appears to live right next to a school. The frightening realization is how many sex offenders or sexual predators don’t register and therefore don’t appear on any of the many available websites that track them.
But residents in HUD and other public housing in other areas are not as fortunate as there are sexual predators living amongst them. An investigation conducted in Chicago found at least 20 sexual predators living in public housing. In states like Illinois, (as well as other states), sex offenders that have been required to register where they live with police for the rest of their lives are labelled as sexual predators and not just sex offenders.
The study also reported:
- Six have registered with the police as living at addresses that are buildings owned or operated by the CHA.
- Another 14 have registered their home addresses as apartments or homes where the rent is paid in full or part with a Section 8 voucher — taxpayer money that comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD.
- One of those 14 — who was convicted of assaulting a 9-year-old — reported he lives in a Section 8 apartment where, until recently, taxpayers covered 72 percent of the $1,050 monthly rent.
That may not sound like many sexual predators amidst the thousands of public housing units in the Windy City, but the same study also discovered that there are thousands of public housing residents that live very close to sexual predators.
In January 1997, a 9-year-old girl who lived with her family in public housing in the Cabrini-Green public housing in Chicago was abducted, sexually assaulted, then poisoned and left for dead. Miraculously, the girl, identified only as Girl X to protect her identity, survived and despite being left with severe disabilities from her brutal ordeal, she was able to identify her attacker as Patrick Sykes. Sykes was a convicted sex offender who was in another public housing complex in Chicago.
In response to what happened to Girl X, in 1998, Congress passed a law that bans all sexual predators from living in government subsidized housing, yet in some areas, it’s not stopping them.
If you or someone you know lives in public housing, they need to keep a constant watch for sex offenders and/or sexual predators living in their housing or nearby. You also need to understand that some offenders and predators don’t register, but one has to be on constant vigil for their own safety and the safety of their children.
How safe is your neighborhood? Have you checked?