MAYFLOWER, Ark. - Did you know high-risk sex offenders are living next door to children...?
Some of their cases involve home burglary, rape, indecent exposure, sexual indecency with a child, molestation...
And most of these cases involve children and teens.
But these sex offenders are not breaking the law by living at two apartment complexes in Mayflower, where children also live.
Mayflower's Police Chief says he fears the situation poses a safety risk to the apartments' most vulnerable tenants.
Authorities go door to door...
"I'm here to inform you about a sexual offender who has moved into your neighborhood," Mayflower Police Chief Robert Alcon said.
It's their duty to let people know when a sex offender moves in next door.
In one part of Mayflower resides a concentration of sex offenders who Chief Alcon says are housed too close to children.
"When you put that many in that small of a place, you're asking for trouble and, sooner or later, it's gonna happen," Chief Alcon said.
On a ride along with Chief Alcon and Officer Gene Chase, they showed us where 12 sex offenders live: two apartment complexes with a combined 132 units.
"You will see anywhere from 8 to 12, 13 children that are running around the complex, riding bikes that are potential victims," Chief Alcon said.
Chief Alcon says one offender who lives at the complex is a Level 2 Offender.
10 tenants are Level 3 offenders, meaning these individuals typically have histories of repeat sexual offending.
And the other offender is a Level 4, meaning they are a sexually dangerous person.
"Something happens to a kid, there's no excuse for it if you can prevent it," Officer Chase said.
Of the 12 sex offenders, nine had victims who were children and/or teenagers.
"Placing them in a situation where something bad like a sexual assault or a rape can happen to them is just, just horrific to me," Officer Chase said.
One woman who lives at the complex welcomed police and talked about the apartment's current condition.
"He's making an improvement, which is really good for the buildings, better for the tenants, all the way around. Especially when you're taking care of little ones like this," the tenant said.
But the Mayflower Police Department believes the apartments' owner isn't doing enough to keep "little ones" safe from sex offenders.
When asked if he feels that this poses a safety risk, the owner of the apartments said, "There's not a safety risk no where."
"I go by the law. I go by what the law says. The law says if you discriminate, you could be held accountable as harassing," the owner continued.
As long as sex offenders abide by the law, the Faulkner County Sheriff's Office (FCSO) says it's fine.
"There's no problem with them living there, although some people don't like it," FCSO Chief Matt Rice said.
Deputy Chief Rice did point out, though, that where sex offenders can live is limited. Arkansas law prohibits Level 3 and 4 sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet from public or private elementary or secondary schools, public parks, youth centers or daycare facilities.
Apartment complexes, however, are not included.
"It's farther out, so they're not close to anything we know of, and we always check before a resident moves somewhere that they're not by a school or a park," Deputy Chief Rice said.
"It's his apartment complex and he can let live here who he wants to. There's nothing we can do about that under the law," Chief Alcon said.
Online, people are taking to the apartments' Facebook pages to warn others about sex offenders living there.
Chief Alcon says he would like to see a cap on how many offenders can live at an apartment complex.
"People can go to their legislator, their senators, let them know they're very concerned about this and that's how laws can be passed possibly," Chief Alcon said.
He says his department's goal is to be proactive and prevent potential harm.
"Coming after the incident occurs, you know when it could've been prevented to begin with, it hurts us," Officer Chase said.
In the last two years, new laws have been put in place regarding sex offenders.
Lawmakers passed a bill in 2015 that prevents Level 3 and 4 sex offenders from swimming areas and playgrounds in state parks.
A law passed this year bars Level 4 sex offenders from attending ticketed school events.
Next -- Chief Alcon says he would like to see a limit on how many sex offenders can live at an apartment complex.
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