Sexual predators in Bradford County in Florida woke up last week to find large red reflective signs outside their homes identifying them as sex offenders.
"[name] is a convicted sexual predator and lives at this location," read the public notice signs.
The signs were installed by the Bradford County Police Department outside the homes of 18 registered sexual predators who were convicted of rape or molesting children, reported Vice.com
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The signs were part of an effort by local police to make parents aware of the potential danger that exists for children in certain parts of the community, said Capt. Brad Smith.
"Florida statutes say that we must notify the public of any sex offenders in our jurisdiction," Smith said. "We already do that with Facebook and by going out into the area to notify people when the person first moves in, but we realized there was a possible issue with continued notification."
"For instance, if somebody moves in after we've gone around notifying people, then they're not aware that there's a predator there," said Smith.
Smith said the signs were also beneficial to the predators.
"In a certain sense, it protects the predator from having people, especially children, approaching their residence without being duly notified," he said.
The signs were only placed in front of homes of people convicted of a first-degree felony, such as rape or child molestation, or two second-degree felony sex crimes. Under Florida law, such offenders are deemed "sexual predators."
"Sexual offenders," who have been convicted of crimes such as possession of child pornography and procuring a person under 18 for purposes of prostitution, did not get signs outside their homes.
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"If it prevents one more victim in my community, I've done my job as sheriff," Sheriff Gordon Smith told First Coast News.
The sheriff was asked if he thought the signs might lead to vigilante acts.
"No. We don't expect that to happen, and if it does, we will do everything in our power to protect the person's rights," he said.
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