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Study Finds Sexual Assault Less Likely in Neighborhoods with Registered Sex Offenders

A new study by the University of Michigan explores the connection between sexual assault and the neighborhoods where sex offenders live. A team of researchers from Michigan and Princeton University say data shows sexual abuse is less likely to occur in areas where a registered sex offender lives than in other neighborhoods. University of Michigan Law Professor JJ Prescott says the study is surprising—because most people think sex crimes happen without much forethought.

They’re just walking down the street and a victim is there and they just pounce on them, but of course an incredibly small fraction of sex offenses look like that. People don’t, you know, walk out their front door and commit a crime right where everybody knows them.”

-JJ Prescott

Prescott says the results come from more than a decade of data collected by the Baltimore County Police Department in Maryland. He says knowing a registered sex offender lives nearby also increases the likelihood that a resident will report crimes in a given neighborhood. 

You can find the entire study here.

Image credit: Marissa Gawel/WDET

About the Author

Marissa Gawel

Associate News Producer

Fan of road trips and roasted vegetables. Currently reports from WDET’s newsroom.

mgawel@wdet.org   Follow @marissagawel

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