City officials are building a small park in Harbor Gateway with the main purpose of forcing 33 registered sex offenders to move out of a nearby apartment building. State law prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a park or school. By building the park, officials said, they would effectively force the sex offenders to leave the neighborhood.
This section of Harbor Gateway has one of the city's highest concentrations of registered sex offenders: 86 live in a 13-block area. Los Angeles plans to build a total of three pocket parks with the intent of driving out registered sex offenders; two will be in Wilmington. At one-fifth of an acre, the pocket park will barely have room for two jungle gyms, some benches and a brick wall. But the enjoyment the park will give children is a secondary concern for officials.
The action marks the latest campaign by local governments to drive sex offenders farther into the fringes of society. The state law already bans offenders from living in huge swaths of urban areas, pushing them into industrial districts and remote towns and into neighborhoods like Harbor Gateway that lack schools and parks.