By ANEEKA SIMONIS
CONVICTED and known sex offenders have been caught loitering in ‘child heavy’ areas such as schools and playgrounds in the city’s outer south-east, according to Victoria Police data.
Of the region, the City of Casey was hardest hit – detecting the highest rate of loitering sex pest offences in public spaces including schools over the five-year period.
The broader state-wide rates spiked last year, sparking calls for mandatory implementation of GPS monitoring for all serious sex offenders.
Police detected six incidents where convicted or known sex offenders were loitering at or near schools and other ‘child heavy’ public spaces from October 2010 to September 2015.
There were four incidents in the Greater Dandenong region during the same period, and up to three in Cardinia Shire.
Victoria Police were unable to give a year by year breakdown on the data for the region as a result of confidentiality requirements and low offence rates in the region.
They stressed one offender may be responsible for multiple offences recorded in the region, but were not able to provide further detail on offence rates committed by individual sex offenders.
State-wide, police recorded close to three dozen incidents where serious sex offenders were found loitering near what are referred to as ‘child heavy’ areas last year.
It is reportedly the highest number since 2012.
Victorian Victims of Crime group’s Greg Davies is campaigning for electronic monitoring of all serious sex offenders.
He said tracking devices should be mandatory “until [offenders] can prove they pose no threat to the community”.
“It should be up to them to prove themselves, not the community to welcome them with open arms and nothing but their promise that they’ve reformed,” Mr Davies told the Herald Sun.
Police urge parents to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.