Sex offenders cause nervous neighbors

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by Rucks Russell / 11 News

khou.com

Posted on January 4, 2010 at 7:25 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 4 at 10:03 PM

HOUSTON — Parents in one Houston community are sounding the alarm bell after learning their area is home to more registered sex offenders than almost any other neighborhood in Harris County. 

“Our area is the dumping field for anything that’s negative,” said Travis McGee, who’s been president of the Sunnyside Civic Association for the last four years.

McGee is outraged over the latest stats on the whereabouts of registered sex offenders compiled by the Texas Department of Public Safety. 
According to the numbers, the ZIP code including much of Sunnyside has 118 registered sex offenders. There are areas with a higher concentration, but those neighborhoods have facilities specially designed to house registered sex offenders. 
“I’m afraid for our kids because they could, because someone could snatch them on their way home from school and no one would ever notice," said McGee.
Other parents agreed and spent part of Monday afternoon outside watching their children play. 
“I never feel safe to leave them out of my sight,” said Sonja Burton. “I don’t want to turn my back and find someone trying to harm them.”
 Some parents would like to see a new law that would prohibit so many sex offenders from clustering in one area. But some victim’s rights advocates believe such a move might be a tough sell. 
“There are obviously places for offenders to reside and that’s key,” said Andy Kahan, who heads Houston’s Crime Victims Task Force. “Like it or not, offenders have to have a place to live.”
But parents who believe their children need a safe place to play vow to continue their fight. 
“We need new laws and we will continue to talk to anyone who will listen,” said McGee.

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