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Do you know who your neighbors are? What about who lives a few blocks down? There could be a registered sex offender in your area. How would you know?
The department of public safety has a Web site with a registered sex offenders database. You can simply type in your zip code and find out where sex offenders live in your area. If you suspect someone is a sex offender and know their name or address, you can search the database that way as well.
There are 171 registered sex offenders in Brazos County. One-hundred and sixteen of those live in Bryan, 39 in College Station, and 16 in other areas of the county. The sheriff's department is in charge of making sure sex offenders are registering and giving current information.
"As a whole, the registered sex offenders are staying in compliance and our office along with Bryan and College Station Police regularly check for their compliance," said Brazos County Sheriff, Chris Kirk.
A compliance check was done at the end of October. A total of 13 non-compliant offenders were found. Failure to comply is a felony and the offender could be sent back to prison or placed on community supervision.
The risk levels of an offender are assigned by the state. Red is high, pink is moderate, and orange is low. A number of factors are considered when assigning a risk level.
" It really depends on the type of offense that was committed. If it was an aggravated offense or not. Whether a weapon was used or not is one of the considerations. And of course the number of times they've offended is part of that," said Sheriff Kirk.
Risk assessments didn't take effect until January 2000 so anyone convicted prior to that date is not assigned a level. They are identified on the DPS website in black and their risk level is unknown. There are 18 people in the high risk level in Brazos County.
Offenders at high and moderate risk levels must register for life and low risk and juvenile offenders must register for 10 years. Sheriff Kirk says the percentage of offenders that repeat is less than three percent and that sex offenders are more likely to repeat their crimes than other criminals.
If a high risk level offender moves into a neighborhood, people living within a one mile radius will be informed through a letter, but the best way to check is to visit the DPS Web site. It is full of vital information and local authorities also urge residents to call if they have any concerns.
Police will be in the studio Tuesday night between 6:30 and 9:30 to answer your questions as well as take any tips about possible violators. You can call the newsroom at (979) 268-1497 to speak with officers. For the link to the DPS Web site go to our homepage and click on featured links.