Colonie's sex-offender population doubles

Heider said the highest concentration of sex offenders is on Central Avenue, west of Route 155, though he said another motel in Latham is now allowing sex offenders to live in its facility. The issue of an over-concentration of sex offenders on that portion of Central Avenue is one that has increasingly come to the town's attention over the last few years.

The reasons why the sex offenders are flocking to these motels is also somewhat complex, he said.

Heider said the motels receive funds from state and county government to take these people in.

Another factor is the strict residency rules that prevent sex offenders from virtually living anywhere in surrounding counties that have adopted laws to create farther distances a sex offender can live from a school, playground, daycare or other place where children are.

The Town of Colonie currently follows the Albany County laws, which create a 1,000-foot restriction of how close a sex offender can live to an area where there are children. Heider said the motels that some residents are concerned with are within the regulations.

Heider said if one were to look at the sex offender registry, many of those who have committed offenses did not do so in the Town of Colonie, but they were pushed into Colonie because they had no place left to go.

"That's part of the problem we're having here in this town," he said. "They were never part of the Town of Colonie, didn't commit crimes in the Town of Colonie. They're being placed here from counties that don't even border the town."

But according to Heider, while a stricter residency law could help the problem, it will not make it go away.

"When you're talking about the effectiveness of residency laws, it doesn't really prevent crimes against people," he said. "It doesn't matter where they live."

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