LUBBOCK, Texas — In the city of Lubbock, no sex offender–no matter the crime–can live within 1000 feet of schools, parks and similar places mostly open to minors. There’s a long list of crimes that may require someone to register as a sex offender in Texas, and officials not only do this to keep the community safe, but according to Sergeant Johnny Bures with Texas Department of Public Safety, it’s the law. 

“Anytime people move in the state, they are required to register,” said Bures. “Then they are supposed to update their information to let us know where they’re moving to or where they’re moving from.”

An important part of that registration includes where they live, which Lieutenant Brady Cross with the Lubbock Police Department said is open to the public. 

“The state maintains a list and map of those that are required to register that are in the database, so the state of Texas has that you can look at and into your neighborhood or zip code,” said Cross. “But you can see the proximity of those folks that are required to register.” 

These crimes can vary, and if you receive a postcard about a registered sex offender moving into your neighborhood, it’s from the state and usually means that person is a high risk. Although it can be unsettling, Bures said to make sure you know your neighbors and that your kids know to steer clear of strangers. 

“The biggest thing is, don’t panic. These folks are allowed to live wherever, but they do have to abide by whatever set in their terms and agreements on their court paperwork,” said Bures. “This way too, you kind of know who lives around you and who visits [your kids], and maybe who shouldn’t be around you.”

Cross said the city of Lubbock and LPD works hard to keep the community safe too, especially when it comes to these types of offenses. 

“They are truly dedicated to keeping up with the lives of the registered sex offenders,” said Cross. “They know about who their internet service provider is, what car they drive, their social media accounts, e-mail addresses, where they work; all of those things.”

Both men agree that most offenders live normal, everyday lives and follow the guidelines in their paperwork, but if you do notice any suspicious activity, they recommend reaching out to a non-emergency line or report it through DPS’ iWatchTexas app.