Posted: Feb 13, 2013 4:55 PM by Janine Reyes
Updated: Feb 13, 2013 5:47 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - Yesterday, we told you about Portland's sex offender ordinance. City leaders credit that ordinance passed 5 years ago with a significant drop in registered sex offenders in their city.
There are only two in the Portland area zip code, just one in city limits.
Here's a recap of some of the figures we shared with you Tuesday night, Portland has a population of more than 15,000, with only two sex offenders living there.
The 78416 zip code in Corpus Chrsiti has a population of more than 16,000, so its fairly comparable in size, but, there are 57 registered sex offenders living in that zip code.
If we look at an even smaller area of the city, 78408 in Corpus Christi has a population of almost 11,000, with 67 registered sex offenders.
In all, Corpus Christi has more than 800 sex offenders in the city limits. Still, local leaders say there's no need right now to put an ordinance similar to Portland's in place.
Parent Letty Rodriguez says she'd like to see it here. "Especially now without the crossing guards or anything like that, yeah, that's definitely something every neighborhood should have," she told us.
We found four registered sex offenders within walking distance of her children's elementary school.
The ordinance in Portland bans sex offenders from living within a thousand feet of schools, day cares, parks or each other.
Corpus Christi leaders tell us the city doesn't see the need right now. "Portland is a much smaller community. You're comparing apples and oranges," Mayor Nelda Martinez told us.
We shared the information on the ordinance and broke down the numbers we found in Corpus Christi and in Portland.
"Are these numbers troubling to you, do you think that something needs to be done to change that," we asked.
"I think, when you brought this to my attention, I was able to find out about our program here and how we have the oversight and monitoring of the sex offenders, I was convinced that we have practically the most aggressive monitoring of sex offenders," Martinez replied.
Corpus Christi Police Chief Floyd Simpson agrees, saying right now, Corpus Christi is keeping you and your kids safe by keeping an eye on sex offenders.
"Relentless monitoring and tracking of where our offenders are, we do great with informing the public through our website, you can log onto our website to find out where sex offenders are," Simpson explained. He said his officers work closely with the probation department and even round up high risk sex offenders on Halloween night.
He and the mayor say we have no proof Portland's sex offender decline is because of the ordinance. They had more than five when city leaders passed the sex offender ordinance. They have one in city limits now.
Sex offenders are banned from living in most of the city.
The ordinance is grandfathered, meaning sex offenders who live in the community when its enacted don't have to comply, unless they move.
"We don't know if that enactment of the ordinance, with 100% assurance caused those people to leave," Simpson said. "Well, we know its caused one person who was convicted recently to move, because he couldn't, he was restricted," we replied. "And you can debate that," Simpson said.
Portland Assistant City Manager Randy Wright says that's exactly what happened with a newly convicted sex offender in Portland. After his conviction, police discovered he lived too close to a neighborhood park, leaving him no choice but to move, he left the city.
Martinez says parents are pleased with what the city of Corpus Christi does to protect them. "Parents are the ones that come to us and thank us every day for the monitoring and the plans that we have in places as far as regarding sex offenders," Martinez said.
The Chief of Police agrees.
"Today, we don't feel the need to follow the lead of Portland in order to enact an ordinance," said Simpson.
Two hundred cities across the state of Texas have passed similar ordinances. Chief Simpson says that a city the size of Corpus Christi could face action from civil rights groups if they tried passing such an ordinance.
Do you have a tip, information about a breaking news story, or a story idea for 6 Investigates? Contact the KRIS 6 News Desk at 361-884-6666 or send us an email.
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