Right now, 252 registered sex offenders live in Lubbock. State laws prevent them from living near schools, daycares, and parks, but they can live anywhere else, except in one local neighborhood, scheduled for a grand opening Saturday.
Milwaukee Ridge is the country's first development designated sex offender free. It's an idea that has gained national attention. If fact, the community is featured in Friday's edition of USA Today. Before anyone can purchase property at Milwaukee Ridge, they have to undergo a background check. It's for everyone who will live in the home, including minors.
One mother already living there says it gives her an extra sense of security. "Oh yes, definitely, because I have two small children, so that's one of the things that we were excited about," said Milwaukee Ridge resident Sarah Bradshaw. Bradshaw only recently moved into Milwaukee Ridge. In fact, she's one of the only people living there, but that won't be the case for long. "We've just noticed a lot of properties have sold," Bradshaw said.
Developers say lots are going fast in the first phase of development. "It's really taking off," said Clayton Isom from I & S Investments, LP. Now, similar communities are planned in other large cities. Work has already begun in Kansas City, Missouri. "We pretty much sold out of all of our lots before we even started building streets. No body around here really understands how much of an example this has set," said Isom.
"They actually take our names and social security numbers, and they do the checks themselves," said Bradshaw. If a person is a registered sex offender, they're not allowed to move in. "It's a safe feeling knowing that," said Bradshaw. Developers retain the right to buy back any home in the community if a home buyer becomes a registered sex offender after purchase, but Bradshaw knows the background check is not total protection from predators. "We'll still be protective, but just knowing that they do the background checks, that they screen everybody, that's a very good feeling, it's probably the best part," Bradshaw said.
A background check will only find registered offenders, or those with a record. There is no way to find future predators, so parents will still have to teach their children and keep a watchful eye on who they are around. You may check out the development this Saturday. Developers have a grand opening celebration going on from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
|Lubbock PD Registered Sex Offenders|
|Texas DPS Sex Offender Search|