Kyle’s Lack Of Ordinance Appears To Have Been Attracting Registered Sex Offenders To Reside Within Our Community
During February 2, 2021, Council Meeting, Kyle Police Chief Jeff Barnett of Police brought forward an ordinance that would restrict where sex offenders would be allowed to reside within Kyle.
Lack Of Restrictions Proved Inviting To Registered Sex Offenders
Chief Barnett stated that this item was brought up by KPD Officer Dago Pates who after interview several registers sex offenders, discovered that Kyle had become a popular community for sex offenders because unlike many surrounding cities, Kyle had failed to pass any local laws restricting where registered sex offenders can reside.
Apparently Kyle has caught the eye of many registered sex offender looking for housing after Austin area cites such as Leander, Pflugerville, and Cedar Park have passed ordinances that restricted sex offenders residences within a certain distance from areas were children normally congregate such as schools and parks.
One registered sex offender interviewed by KPD Officer Dago Pates on why they choose Kyle over Cedar Park responded with; “I can’t throw a rock without being in violation in that city,” Pates said, adding that the city’s affordability and proximity to Austin both contribute to Kyle’s growing population of registered sex offenders.
Mayor Travis Asked To Reduce Restrictions Proposed By KPD
Mayor Travis Mitchell stated that he has heard from family members of sex offenders that have valid things to say regarding KPD’s propsed ordinance.
Travis further stated that the proposed ordinance would bar sex offenders from residing in the majority of the city, and expressed concern that this could have the effect of expelling all sex offenders from the city.
Travis ended the statement with “they have to live somewhere”.
Council member Yvonne Flores-Cale stated that she felt the ordinance purposed by KPD would allow for enough areas and that her greater concern would be to avoid a great influx of more registered sex offenders moving into the community.
Chief Barnett had been asking for a distance restriction of 1,500 feet; but following a request from Mitchell, Barnett said his department would look into reducing the distance restrictions to 1,000 feet, thereby slightly reducing the limitations of where registered sex offenders may live within Kyle.
Proposed “DRAFT” Map of Restricted Areas
The ordinance, defines places within the city where children commonly gather, such as parks, and specifies that sex offenders cannot, by law, live permanently or temporarily within 1,500 feet of any defined common gathering area for children.
Comparison Rates of Registered Sex Offenders
Currently 68 registered sex offenders live within the city a ratio of 830:1; a significantly higher rate compared to the cities of Pflugerville and Leander.
The Texas Sex Offender Registration Program itself does not prohibit registered sex offenders from living or going near places frequented by children.
However, Texas community supervision and parole laws, as well as city ordinances, may require the imposition of a “child safety zone.”
A “child safety zone” prohibits certain individuals from going in, on, or within a specified distance of a premise where children commonly gather (i.e. schools, daycare facilities, or playgrounds). A violation of the “child safety zone” can result in the revocation of the offender’s probation or parole, or a citation.
What Will The Kyle City Council Do?
This ordinance was just presented for first reading and will be voted on by the Kyle City Council at future meetings.