Roughly 119 sex offenders live in Miami-Dade zip code 33138

State, local laws prevent sex offenders, predators from living with 2.5K feet of schools, parks, day cares

By Glenna Milberg - Reporter , Ben Candea

MIAMI - People living in the 33138 zip code share their neighborhoods with roughly 119 sex offenders and predators, the most in one residential zip code in Miami-Dade County.

The area -- bordered by Northeast 61st Street to the south, North Miami Avenue to the west, and 107th Street to the north -- is one of the few areas in the county where sex offenders are allowed, by law, to live.

It's also considered an up-and-coming area with new high rises, homes, and businesses.

"I'd say within the next three years, it's going to be some place strong," said Naomi Preston, a realtor.

The sex offenders living in the area have served their sentences and been released to communities. State and local laws prevent them from living within 2,500 feet of schools, parks, and anywhere children congregate.

"It scares me," said Jose Salazar

Salazar lives next door to Jose Gonzalez, who was released from prison in 2009 after he was convicted of raping a teenager.

"He don't bother me. As long as he don't bother me, it's okay," said Cherlisa Marshall, another neighbor of Gonzalez. "He speaks to everybody and tries to be nicer."

"If they don't bring down the price of real estate, I really don't care," said Frank Guerra, a long-time homeowner in the area, who added that he'd care about living near sex offenders if he had young children.

"I hate it. It's not right, it's not appropriate," said Ron Book, chairman of the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust. "There's got to be a better way."

Book wants to re-do residency laws that force sex offenders and predators to cluster in certain neighborhoods.

"How you go about getting people to build affordable housing for formally incarcerated predators and offenders away from the general population -- that's the solution," he said.

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