With 90 percent of the city off-limits, fewer offenders are registering their residences.
A law that was intended to restrict where sex offenders live is driving them underground, Tulsa police say their records show.
About two years ago, the number of sex offenders registered in Tulsa peaked at 540. Now, Tulsa has 372 offenders registered, said Sgt. Gary Stansill, supervisor of the Police Department's Sex Crimes Unit.
But that doesn't necessarily mean fewer sex offenders are living here.
Stansill said a controversial state law that went into effect last year has put 90 percent of the city off limits for sex offenders by prohibiting them from living within 2,000 feet of playgrounds, parks or child-care facilities. They were already prohibited from living within that distance from a school.
While well-intended, the changes to Oklahoma's Sex Offender Registration Act have made it very difficult for offenders to find places to live legally.
"They come down here and give us their address where they want to live, and we say, 'That is restricted; you can't live there,' " Stansill said. "They may come back two or three times, and sometimes they never show back up."
I can't say I'm surprised. This result is entirely consistent with what has happened in Iowa. And like Professor Berman, I'm happy to see law enforcement officials speaking out against these laws.