Residents of a Surrey neighbourhood are surprised to learn a convicted sex offender has been living in their community for a year.
Paul Callow spent 20 years in jail after he was convicted of raping five women at knifepoint in Toronto in the mid-80s. He was dubbed the “Balcony Rapist” because he broke into women’s homes by climbing onto second- or third-storey balconies.
He was released a decade ago and has no new convictions.
Callow has been living under the radar in Surrey’s Fleetwood neighbourhood in a home located close to a school.
Residents, who asked not to be identified because they’re concerned about their safety, are upset they weren’t notified of Callow’s presence in the neighbourhood.
“I found out that he’d been here for a year and, knowing what he’d done and his history, couldn’t believe that there was no community consultation with anyone before he showed up in our neighbourhood,” one resident said.
The Ministry of Justice says it can’t provide details due to privacy concerns.
There is no public sex offender registry in Canada that provides details where offenders live.
The school district is aware of parents’ concerns but says legally its hands are tied.
“We are sensitive to those concerns and have been in contact with the Surrey RCMP,” Doug Strachan of the Surrey School District said. “There’s no heightened risk to the community and that’s where it sits.”
Surrey RCMP told Global News Callow is currently not under any restrictions or conditions.
Jennifer Metcalfe of Prisoners’ Legal Services says Callow has served his time and has gone a decade with no new convictions.
“If the goal is to increase public safety, causing him stress and destabilizing his housing isn’t going to have that effect,” she said.
Callow did not respond to a Global News request for an interview.
He told Global News back in 2007 that he had become “infamous” for his crimes but said he would not hurt anyone else.
“There is nothing I can do at this point,” he said. “All I can do is see to it that I don’t do anything like that again.”
Surrey residents say you never know what could happen.
“Maybe there should be some sort of a warning system when he moves into a neighbourhood, especially close to a school like that,” one resident said.
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.