One Abilene mother, Heather Weber, is preparing by looking up sex offenders near where her daughter walks to the bus stop. "So it doesn't look like there are any in our neighborhood, which is great," explains Weber.
By looking at an online map, the nearest sex offender to Weber's neighborhood was a few miles away, however, that is not the case all around Abilene.
The Texas Department of Public Safety reports that there are currently 384 sex offenders in Taylor County. Weber explains that she anticipated that number to be lower, but is glad to know her daughter should have a safe walk. She also encourages other parents to do their research and be proactive. "I think it's great that information is out there and that you can find it if you need to," says Weber.
Detective Eric Vickers with the Abilene Police Department provided this information regarding sex offenders in Abilene:
"The Abilene Police Department would like to urge parents to be cautious and aware as they send their children to school, day care, or other public locations. There are registered sex offenders who reside in Abilene, and their information is available to the general public at https://records.txdps.state.tx.us/sexoffender/. While we strongly encourage the parents and the rest of our community to be aware and watchful at bus stops and other places children frequently congregate, we also would like the community to know that in the majority of all sexual offenses against children, the child knows the offender. In the 1980's we taught our children about "Stranger Danger", and we warned them to be guarded against people they don't know. While this continues to be prudent advice, law enforcement across the United States has learned that most sexual offenses are not committed by strangers. As such, the Abilene Police Department encourages parents to be even more diligent in who they allow to access their children. Parents and other community members are the first line of defense in the battle to prevent crime in our city."
Weber has several more years to think about safety for her young children and says that this won't be the only time she does this search "Three daughters, so I will be coming back to this website and checking it," explains Weber.
The resources are out there and free to use, so for parents, it may be worth doing your homework before sending your children back to school.
To search for sex offenders in your area, click here.
Another search resource that is available for free can be viewed here.
The Texas Department of Public Safety also answers a few frequently asked questions regarding sex offenders. Those answers can be viewed here.
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