|Updated: 10/27/2011 6:24 pm
||Published: 10/27/2011 3:43 pm
There are a reported 328 registered sex offenders living in Tulsa.
In Oklahoma, registered sex offenders are allowed to give out candy during Halloween.
However, in other states convicted sex offenders are prohibited to participate in trick or treating events and some are rounded up and forced to be in one place during the holiday.
Parents and track registered sex offender locations by going to the Tulsa Police Department Sex Offender Registry webpage by name, zip code or map.
The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office offers Offender Watch on its website where you can get alerts when convicted sex offenders move into a neighborhood.
"Inside my house I have set up a security system. That way if anything were to happen I would get an immediate alert on my phone,” says East Tulsa father Steven Knight.
He’s a new father who lives near 41st and S. Mingo in a pocket that’s more than 2,000 feet from a school, park or daycare. That area is legal for a sex offender to register.
“You have to be careful of our surroundings and watch where you are,” says Knight.
Using the free Been Verified app for Smartphone’s, it shows there are six sex offenders who have registered within a mile of where Knight lives.
The app allows users to adjust distance, whatever the direction your phone is facing, a red dot will show up in the one mile radius. You can also view by address and a picture of the registered sex offender will pop up.
"Looks like I am downloading that app when I go inside,” says Knight.
However, Tulsa police report there are about 119 delinquent convicted sex offenders in Tulsa. Oklahoma Department of Corrections reports of the 7,017 registered sex offenders statewide, 819 are delinquent.
“They can sign up for e-mail alerts, they can go to watchdog.com, they can get the iPhone apps that tells them they are getting close to a sex offender's house, they can do everything in their power but it doesn't help them when we have hundreds of unknown sex offenders living amongst us,” says Tulsa Police Exploitation Sgt. John Adams.
Sergeant Adams believes the 2,000 foot safe zone rule is deterring sex offenders from registering with police.
"We don't know if it is our next door neighbor, we don't know if it is the guy down the street, we have no idea because of the sheer number of the unregistered," says Adams.
Police report in 2006 there were 528 registered sex offenders within the city of Tulsa and they investigated 95 reported sex offender violations.
Then the law expanded from schools to daycares, parks and playgrounds. To date there are 324 registered sex offenders in Tulsa and TPD has investigated 314 reported sex offender violations.
"You have to have a severe punishment to make them come in and register,” says Adams.
Tulsa Police and other law enforcement and state lawmakers are studying tougher punishments for sex offenders who fail to register (FTR) or live in a safe zone.
Current punishment for FTR is a maximum five years and living in a safe zone is a maximum three years in prison.
A proposal would require a ten year prison sentence without the choice of a suspended sentence.
Police also advocate scaling back the 2,000 foot safe zone to 1,000 feet to encourage sex offenders to register so they know where they live.
The U.S. Census Bureau has found more than nine out of 10 Americans feel safe trick or treating around their neighborhood.
However, police are urging parents to watch their kids closely and not to allow them to go inside a home or up to anyone’s car to get candy.