The latest sex offender registry data shows downtown hubs in London and Kingston have the most sex offenders per capita in southern Ontario, bumping Hamilton's L8R postal code from the top spot. The data, 6 years newer than the first set released to Global News last week, shows that the concentration of offenders in a given area can be quite variable from year to year.
The data reveals that in six years, between 2008 and 2014, 1,140 registered sex offenders have been added to the list. And despite the registry being a provincial matter, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) track offenders who have been convicted under "Christopher's Law" all across Canada, with listings of registered sex offenders convicted in Ontario residing in all ten provinces.
The latest data set also shows that the OPP don't know where 102 sex offenders live — 24 such offenders are missing postal codes and 78 have no fixed address.
Hamilton's L8R moves to third most dense area of sex offenders
The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) released Ontario Sex Offender Registry (OSOR) data to Global News last week,after a six-year battle that went to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled in favour of transparency. But that data was from 2008.
CBC Hamilton requested the latest data, which shows that the title of home to the highest density of registered sex offenders now belongs to London's N6B postal code.
Westdale shows highest rise in number of registered sex offenders
The L8R area actually showed a 15 per cent drop in registered sex offenders from 51 to 43. Hamilton's Ward 1 showed the biggest rises in the L8S and L8P postal codes. L8S (mostly Westdale- Ainslee Wood) went from 8 to 19, while L8P (primarily Kirkendall) went from 38 to 52. Overall, the five central city postal codes (L8H, L8R, L8L, L8m and L8N) have 260 registered sex offenders, up from about 200 in 2008.
Asked why the Westdale and Kirkendall neighbourhoods saw the greatest increases in registered sex offenders, Coun. Brian McHattie said he wasn't aware of any "changes" to services offered in the area but would inquire with city staff.
John Clinton, executive director of the St. Leonard's Society of Hamilton, says the new data shows how fluid the population is within Ontario, and specifically to Hamilton, people are not choosing a place to live based on the density of services provided.
"There's nothing in Westdale that I'm aware of that would cause it to become a hotbed for this," Clinton said. "Why L8R would cool off and Westdale become higher than - there's nothing there."
'P0V' postal code shows highest rate, number of sex offenders in all of Ontario
The database shows the numbers of registered sex offenders per capita in a forward sortation area (FSA), or grouping of postal codes that begin with the same three characters.
The highest rate and number of sex offenders in the province is the P0V postal code in Northern Ontario, which has 159 registered sex offenders in a population, according to the 2011 census, of 16,347.
In urban centres, Hamilton's L8R dropped to third in southern Ontario for concentration of offenders, also behind Kingston's K7L, which is one of six postal codes with more than 100 registered sex offenders.
Clinton questioned the value of the database to the public, which he says plays an important role for law enforcement but only helps to spread fear for residents.
"What does the data really mean?" Clinton asked. "The sex offender registry does a lot more to making people feel anxious and raising alarm bells than actually making them feel safe. The types of things that should make people feel safe is the services and resources that are provided … for all people at risk."
Fictional postal code for "Santa" home to registered sex offender
A second look at the data also revealed that the postal code "H0H" had one registered sex offender in 2008, but none in 2014. The postal code doesn't exist in Ontario, and is used by Canada Post during the holiday season for children to send letters to Santa under the postal code "H0H 0H0". The ministry said it is inquiring with the OPP as to how the fictional postal code is linked to a registered sex offender.