WEST SACRAMENTO -- A few hours after convicted sex offender David Vaughn Smith was moved back into his Haverhill Street home, many of his West Sacramento neighbors gathered in a nearby park, meeting with West Sacramento Police and Yolo County probation officers.
Smith recently served about nine months of a 16-month sentence for possessing child pornography. He is classified as a low-risk sex offender, but neighbors say they don't trust him.
Most were unwilling to speak on camera about him out of concern for their safety, but they say the government and judges have failed them and that the law is protecting criminals instead of law-abiding citizens.
People unloading a U-Haul at Smith's home had no comment when FOX40 stopped by Wednesday afternoon.
Before 2015, Jessica's Law would have prevented Smith from living in his West Sacramento home because of its proximity within 2,000 feet of schools. But a California Supreme Court ruling allows courts to take into account other factors, such as Smith's low-risk classification, and the fact that his house has been in his family for decades.
"I understand that people are upset," said Yolo County Probation supervisor William Oneto. "We have to work with public safety which is our priority, but we also have to follow the guidelines of the law."
Police are urging neighbors to avoid any kind of harassment or threatening behavior toward Smith that could make them guilty of a crime.
"I wanted to make sure that folks understand, please come to us, let us answer these questions," said West Sacramento Police Sergeant Roger Kinney. "Let us help guide you through these concerns as best we can, but please, we don't want them going after anyone specifically or harassing, annoying, because we don't want to make this anymore difficult on the neighborhood than it is already."
Neighbors who spoke with FOX40 after the meeting were not satisfied, and they are gathering signatures for a petition demanding Smith be removed from West Sacramento.