Registered child sex offenders face more limitations on where they can live in the Hub City. This comes as Lubbock Police start the enforcement of Sex Offender Free Zones.
The Lubbock City Council voted unanimously, more than a month ago to restrict registered child sex offenders from moving within a 1000-foot radius of places where minors commonly gather. Those who already live in the newly restricted areas are grandfathered in.
"We are serious about protecting these children and if you have been convicted of this heinous crime you are going to be limited on where you can live in this town," Mayor David Miller said in March.
This new ordinance took effect Saturday. Thursday NewsChannel 11 asked police how they are ensuring ordinance compliance.
From their front porch, Lee Middleton and his 5th grade daughter Kristen can see the Parsons Elementary School playground.
"Oh from that playground (it's) 200 to 300 feet I guess," Middleton said.
Under the city's new sex offender ordinance that means, someone convicted of a crime against a child would not be able to move in next door.
"I guess whatever they can do legally is a good thing," Middleton said.
Before the city council's April vote, registered child sex offenders not on probation or parole could live nearly anywhere in the city. Now sex offenders cannot move within a 1000-foot boundary of known places children gather. Those include schools, parks, daycares and youth centers.
"A little less than 40% of the city will become sex offender free zones," Cpl. Mark Long said.
Cpl. Long works in the Lubbock Police Department's Sex Offender Unit. He says sex offenders must notify police prior to moving.
"We're telling them weather or not they can actually live in those areas, before they can move into them," Long said.
Long says they plan to increase compliance checks across the city but so far, no sex offender has moved into a child safety zone.
"It's our understanding they're saying it's much harder for them to find places to live," Long added.
"If you make it difficult, sex offenders may be more likely to not live in the city with restrictions. They might find a city that doesn't have that type of ordinance," Middleton added.
In total, Lubbock has nearly 280 registered sex offenders.
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Lubbock PD Registered Sex Offenders