Two months into the school year, the Mountain View Community Council is seeking municipal and state support enforcing “safety perimeters” around neighborhood schools.
A resolution passed 13-1 at the council’s Oct. 9 meeting requests Anchorage Police Department patrols in Mountain View for 30 minutes before school begins and 30 minutes after it ends, as well as state creation of “tiered residency restrictions” barring registered sex offenders from living within certain proximities to local schools and community centers. There are currently no such general restrictions, according to Alaska state statute.
The resolution was introduced earlier this semester by Mountain View resident Tasha Hotch. In recent weeks, news headlines and social media pages have carried accounts of several reported child abductions across Anchorage. While the timing is coincidental, Hotch said, it illustrates a real danger.
The resolution cites Alaska’s high rates of sexual assaults and crimes against children, Mountain View’s heavy foot traffic — including many young students going to and from school — and “several instances of suspicious vehicles in the neighborhood that have tried to take children.”
In September, the original proposed resolution drew feedback from multiple Mountain View residents, according to meeting minutes. Some questioned whether a residency restriction would penalize sex offenders who are complying with the law and would otherwise have nowhere else to live. Others questioned the resolution’s enforceability.
At the council’s October meeting, though, an edited version of the resolution garnered little discussion. The vote in favor of the school safety perimeters was nearly unanimous.
“It would be a deterrent — that’s the goal,” Hotch said.
The next Mountain View Community Council meeting is scheduled to take place Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Mountain View Community Center.