99 sex offenders live within 1/4 mile in Miami neighborhood

Dozens of homeless offenders list address as NE 79th St & 10th Ave

By Glenna Milberg - Reporter , Ross Palombo

MIAMI - A total of 99 convicted sex offenders and predators live within one-quarter mile of each other in Miami's Shorecrest neighborhood.

Dozens of homeless sex offenders and predators are also listing their permanent address as the street corner of Northeast 79th Street and 10th Avenue.

The neighborhood is one of a relatively few outside Miami-Dade County's overlapping patchwork of buffer zones that keep offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools, parks, and anywhere children congregate.

One mother in the neighborhood said she lives across the street from a registered sex offender. She said dozens more camp next door in an empty lot.

The situation is déjà vu for the county's Homeless Trust, which was instrumental in dismantling a homeless sex offender community under the bridge of the Julia Tuttle Causeway three years ago.

"Somebody needs to go to greater lengths and more trouble and more effort to find them places to live," said Homeless Trust Chair Ron Book.

Book said he spoke with Governor Rick Scott and officials with the Florida Department of Corrections about where homeless offenders are being placed when they are released from prison but still need to register a permanent address for probation officers and on the state's public sex offender registry.

In a phone interview with Local 10 News, a spokeswoman for Florida's Department of Corrections said the state does not specifically place homeless offenders.

But neighbors report watching them being dropped off at the empty fenced lot at the intersection of NE 10th Avenue and 79th Street.

"We are not compelling offenders to live there," said Ann Howard with the Florida Department of Corrections.  "Probation officers are not being told to put offenders there."

But many of the offenders said the Shorecrest neighborhood is where they were placed.

The state does give tacit sanction to the homeless camp by listing the street corner as the official registered address of dozens of transient sex offenders.

"Until such time as the state addresses the problem of where to house these people properly, we're probably not going to solve this problem long term," said Book. 

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