Kendall residents protest as homeless sex offenders set up camp

NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Kendall residents took to the streets Sunday to protest a camp being set up by homeless sex offenders.

The protest took place at the intersection of Southwest 88th Street and 137th Avenue. The homeless sex offenders have begun to set up a camp near the intersection of Southwest 88th Street and Krome Avenue.

Many of the homeless sex offenders are relocating from another camp in Hialeah that is set to be shutdown. The Hialeah camp has had as many as 300 sex offenders registered to live there.

People who live in the Kendall community are concerned and taking action.

“We do not want the existing campsite that they have and, number two, we do not want the government to relocate them from whatever location to West Kendall,” said Juanchy Mejin, a resident that was protesting the move.

The sex offenders tell 7News that they have no choice but to be homeless due to a 2005 county ordinance that requires offenders who abused victims under the age of 16 to live at least 2,500 feet from any school. The county ordinance is much stricter than the state which requires offenders to be at least 1,000 feet from a school.

Mejin also told 7News, “We are not here to solve the problem. We just want something simple – safety for our families and be safe in our communities.”

However, some of the homeless said not everyone in the camp is a sex offender.

“There’s a distance, a long distance to the store if you don’t have a car,” said Akiba Lan, who lives in the camp. “There’s no place to go to the bathroom, no place to get food. It’s a very desolate area and the mosquitoes are as big as dogs down there.”

“Some of these guys have been to jail for a long time,” said a man. “I think that’s punishment almost enough.”

The homeless, who have set up camp in West Kendall said they are worried about their own safety, telling 7News that residents in the area have been taking matters into their own hands.

According to James, another man who lives at the camp, a man came by their camp and opened fire with a paintball gun.

“I mean not just paintball guns, someone can come out here with a couple shot guns and start firing, cause cars park along here, you know,” he said. “They don’t know who they’re firing at either. They could just be random people.”

James said he is not a registered sex offender, just homeless, but feels they are all being unfairly targeted.

Meanwhile, residents in Kendall were outraged to learn that some county leaders may have been handing out flyers with a map of the area in Kendall marked “This is a good address to go.”

Another Kendall resident, Vicky Gomez, told 7News, “I know they have rights but we also have rights to live safe.”

Starting Tuesday, officers will be removing aid and assistance for the group who will have to be completely out of the Hialeah camp by Thursday.

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