30 sex offenders stepped forward this week to register properly in Shreveport as part of an amnesty period. Now comes Phase Two of the operation: Enforcement. A multi-agency effort will begin rounding-up 90 sex offenders next week. The felony charge: Failure to Register.
Unregistered sex offenders in Shreveport, like those listed on the Louisiana State Police web site, be warned. Police are coming for you at your home or work next week. Shreveport Police Detective Rod Demery explained, "the whole reason is for the protection of our greatest assets which is our children."
This program to register and track down unregistered sex offenders is just the latest in a series of efforts by law enforcement in the Ark-La-Tex. Last Fall, Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator unveiled a new program called "Offender-Watch," allowing you to sign-up on their website for instant e-mail alerts and postcards anytime a newly registered sex offender moves within one mile of your home.
Two months later, Sheriff Prator gave sex offenders notice about a new law forcing them to pick up a 'sexual offender ID card' at the Louisiana Department of Motor Vehicles. Being caught without it could lead to a 500 dollar fine or six months in jail. Even the website MySpace.com is turning over information about convicted sex offenders to the states now.
We wanted to see how many registered sex offenders show up when we check the LA State Police web site for the area around Betty Virginia Park, along Line Avenue in Shreveport. We found 11 in a one-mile radius, including one who lives less than a block away, convicted of aggravated incest. "It's not good to have that many sex offenders; Makes me feel really uncomfortable especially around this park with all these kids," said babysitter and expectant mother Katy Watson.
To keep such areas safe, police will target the worst offenders first, and go down the list of those 90-names. Det. Demery continued, "sex crimes, there's a high recidivism rate. We want to take every single precaution to make sure that these people don't offend."
Police say they'll spend 3-days next week rounding up the 90-unregistered sex offenders in Shreveport. They're keeping the days secret, along with other operational details to retain some element of surprise.