Anti-Crime Legislation Targets Convicted Predators

Five bills designed to be tough on criminals in Colorado are now law.
One requires authorities to tell you about sexually violent predators living in your neighborhood.

This anti-crime law is about getting families information for their safety, and local representatives say southern Colorado is leading the state in that process, and was, even before it became law.

Five bills that Tuesday morning needed only a signature from Governor Bill Owens are now law.

Two go after identity thieves, and yet another is aimed at convicted criminals whose past makes them a risk to innocent lives.

"Although these predators make up a very small percentage of sex offenders, they pose a danger to society that is greatly out of proportion to their numbers," said Owens Tuesday.

Senate Bill 22 requires local authorities to notify any neighborhood when a recently paroled sexually violent predator will be moving in. It also speeds up the process that sets them apart from other sexual offenders.

"We indicated the best time to have these assessments done is at the time of sentencing when we have the best information to be done with the probation department," State Attorney General John Suthers said.

"I think Colorado Springs has sort of led the pack when it comes to this issue, and the state is catching up,” said District 18 Representative Michael Merrifield. He was a sponsor of the bill in a region that's already providing such notification.

Two neighborhoods this year in southern Colorado now know they're living near a sexually violent predator. The new law solidifies the process for communities across the entire state.

"I think it's a no brainer that it's something we would have brought forward in the legislature and that was passed and the Governor signed it," said Merrifield.

The law also requires a designated sexually violent predator from another state to immediately register if they move to Colorado, or face a mandatory arrest.

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