Yaritza Garcia, a local single mom, has two daughters. She said every day she worries for their safety.
“I’ve never had more fear of anything in my entire life than the fear of my kids being taken,” she said. “In the past week, I’ve seen four kids go missing not very far from where I live.”
She was one of about 35 parents and community members that came out to the Save Our Children protest at the Capitol on Sunday afternoon to advocate for safety in lower-income neighborhoods.
Kevin Maxson of Voices for the Voiceless said there’s a high concentration of sexual predators who live in the Swatara area and in neighborhoods such as Alison Hill where many families are located.
“We’re just standing in solidarity with some of the kids that have been coming up missing, especially in the Swatara area. We just want to make sure people pay attention to what’s actually going on in our neighborhood and our environment.”
Megan’s Law requires a registry of registered sex offenders in the state of Pennsylvania. There are 18,731 registered sex offenders in the state, approximately 600 of those live in Dauphin County, according to the Dauphin County District Attorney’s office.
Websites like City Data offer maps that show where these offenders live in a city, though the information is pulled from public records the permanent address of the offenders could have changed.
Maxson said people who are charged with drug possession or drug dealing often serve longer sentences than sex offenders. He said the state should require sex offenders to wear ankle monitoring devices and be placed in affordable housing away from children and families.
Brent Lipscomb, a member of the community, spoke at the rally and asked everyone in the crowd to shout, “I’m for the children.”
“How do we move forward? We have to be for something,” he said. “We are here today to say we are for the children.”
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