How many people do you encounter throughout any given day? At work, driving, grocery shopping, exercising, out at movies or at a concert; we are constantly interacting with people from the time we wake up until we go to sleep. So would it alarm you that in every 1,000 people you interact with, three were registered sex offenders?
If you live in Niagara Falls, that is the case.
We welcome them, in much the same way we welcome dead baby burning garbage incineration plants. In a city so desperate for cash, Niagara Falls takes what it gets.
Fracking waste in our drinking water, polluted air from the burned garbage of New York City and dangerous and violent offenders from all over the state are just a few of the things we deal with in an effort to allow the city to balance its’ budget.
The city of Niagara Falls has more than a third more registered sex offenders than the rest of Niagara County, and about double the number that people in the rest of the state are subjected to.
According to the Sex Offender Database found on the Niagara County Sheriff’s website there are 158 registered sex offenders living in Niagara Falls, making the number the sex offenders in every thousand Niagara Falls residents, 3.2.
Since his election in 2007, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster has welcomed sex offenders with open arms.
“They’ve got to live somewhere,” he has said.
That attitude, and the fact that the state Parole Board is increasingly eager to put undesirable perverts as far away from civilization as possible makes Niagara Falls the ideal destination.
The number here is a third higher than the second highest number in Niagara County of 2.4 sex offenders for every thousand residents in Gasport and Newfane.
The ratio for the total population of Niagara Falls is 314 residents for every sex offender living in the city. The simplistic explanation as to why the city has the worst ratio for the county might be because it has the highest population.
But since the population for city and town of Lockport combined, is roughly 41,700, or 8,000 less than Niagara Falls, and the ratio is one in 758 residents for every registered sex offender which means it is more than two-times lower than Niagara Falls. The towns of Lewiston and Wheatfield both have over 15,000 residents, while city of North Tonawanda has a population of over 31,000.
All three have fewer than 10 registered sex offenders living inside their borders. Even the city of Buffalo, with a population over five-times the size of Niagara Falls, has a ratio of one for every 428 residents.
The statistics get worse when you look statewide. Of the eight cities in New York State with a population between 40,000 and 60,000, the only city with more sex offenders to total residents than Niagara Falls is Binghamton with a whopping one for every 136 residents.
At first it may seem like a no-brainer that in a city with high crime rates, drug use, and high unemployment, having a large amount of sex offenders living in Niagara Falls would make sense. Of course there is likely some coloration between all those elements, but many cities have high crime, or low employment but do not have anywhere close to the poor figures that Niagara Falls has in relation to sex offenders.
So we get guys here like a Robert Ray Taylor, a 47-year old blonde haired and blue eyed man who raped a 12-year-old back in the Nineties and would probably do the same today if given half a chance.
He’s the guy you might be standing in line next to at Rite Aid or Tops Friendly Markets. He might be living next door to you in a rental unit and you might think he’s a nice enough guy to coach your kid’s soccer team.
The numbers certainly get overlooked when taking about what is wrong with the Niagara Falls, but having 3.2 sex offenders in every thousand city-residents is a painfully statistic that needs to be remembered. It should be addressed as an important factor that is keeping people away from living in the city.
At least for those who don’t particularly care to run into, much less live next to, a sex offender several times a day. Or want them living a few doors down from the school their child attends.