Police beef up patrols around schools, sex offenders' homes
As students across the area gear up to head back to school, school district officials and police are putting the finishing touches on plans to make sure students get to and from school safely.
One program at the Houston Independent School District police department specifically targets sex offenders who live near or right around schools.
The HISD chief of police, Jimmy Dotson said, "We take every effort we can to get that date from the Department of Public Safety so we will know where the congested areas of sex offenders are so we can enhance our patrols around those schools."
Local 2 found there are dozens of offenders who live near schools.
For example, more than a dozen live within just 10 blocks of Eliot Elementary, 6411 Laredo Street, in northeast Houston.
The sex offender registry shows more than a dozen offenders live within just one mile of Pomeroy Elementary, 920 Burke Road, in Pasadena, and six offenders live within one mile of Lantern Lane Elementary, 3323 Mission Valley Drive, in Missouri City.
As of now, there is no law prohibiting sex offenders from living near school campuses.
But parents like Priscilla Arazentas said they are arming themselves to be prepared. Arazenta has a son who attends Eliot Elementary. She said she and her husband have downloaded applications on their cell phones to keep them in the loop.
Arazenta said, "We actually have applications that have to deal with sex offenders [on our cell phones]. We are aware of where they live."
Detectives said the best way for students to protect themselves against offenders is to stay with friends while walking to and from school. Also, scream and run if you fear you are in a dangerous situation.
Officers are hoping parents are the extra eyes and ears this year as the school year begins.