Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


International Crime and Justice

First Advisor's Name

Jamie Flexon

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Stewart D'Alessio

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Lisa Stolzenberg

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Sukumar Ganapati

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


sexual offender, residency restrictions, transient offenders, social disorganization, unintended consequences, moral panic, subculture theory, inverse weighted distance, hierarchical linear modeling, synthetic clusters, Florida, Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach

Date of Defense



This paper explores registered sexual offender (RSO) residency restrictions, unintended consequences of these restrictions, including clustering, shared sub-culture, and recidivism within the Tri-County area of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties of Florida. While Florida Statute 775.215 (FLRR) bans RSOs from living within 1,000 feet of any school, childcare facility, park, or playground, individual county and municipal ordinances add-on to these boundaries, effectively banishing some RSOs to slivers of land in clusters. These clusters often settle in socially disorganized neighborhoods that lack informal control, needed treatment and rehabilitative services, and are located away from family and employment opportunities. Through the use of ArcGIS Pro 2.4.2, SPSS 26.0, and HLM 8.0, this paper examines variables associated with violating FLRR, whether or not RSOs in the Tri-County area live in socially disorganized communities, and what effect clustering and homelessness contribute to the recidivism of RSOs. Using FLRR as a guideline, 41% of RSOs in the Tri-County area that violate buffer zones are less likely to be classified as sexual predators, have victims under 18, and are homeless. Furthermore, for every one unit increase in socially disorganized areas, groups of clustered RSOs are 118% more likely to cluster within those areas. Lastly, the probability of recidivism for a transient RSO to be rearrested increases by 209% over those who reside in a home, and those RSOs who live in a cluster are 14% more likely to recidivate. These unintended consequences of sex offender residency restrictions laws created through a perpetual state of moral panic provide a false sense of security for the public and exacerbate an already complex issue.







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