Megan's Law Adoption Across Mid-atlantic Metropolitan Areas

Open Access
Author:
Swiski, Casey Elizabeth
Area of Honors:
Political Science
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • David Lynn Lowery, Thesis Supervisor
  • Gretchen Casper, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • megan's law
  • sex offender registration
  • mid-atlantic
  • sex crimes
Abstract:
This paper addresses the adoption of sex offender registration laws, also known as “Megan’s Laws,” in four metropolitan areas across the Mid-Atlantic region. The discussion includes a review of scholarship related to sexual assault, crime, and prevention methods. We conduct a time-series analysis using sexually-based offense arrest data from 1980 to 2010 in four cities. The hypotheses argue that Megan’s Law adoption in specific states will either increase or decrease the number of sex crime arrests in cities within these states. Though Megan’s Law legislation did seem to have an effect in Newark, NJ and New York, NY, our results generally prove to be inconclusive, leaving much room for further research opportunities.