However, just because they're missing doesn't mean they're gone, said Sgt. John Adams with the Tulsa Police Department. According to Adams, the places where a registered sex offender can live in Tulsa have been greatly restricted since During that year, Oklahoma lawmakers passed a 2, law, stating sex offenders can't live within 2, feet of a school, park, or any place where children live or play.
Since that we have hundreds of violations a year," said Adams. Adams said because of the way Tulsa is laid out, there are almost no options for sex offender to legally live. Many areas available for sex offenders to live are either industrial areas, wealthy neighborhoods, or undeveloped areas. That didn't happen, they just stopped registering," said Adams. Before they had around registered sex offenders and now, Adams says they're less than We know- we understand what each other is going through," said one convicted sex offender.
He wanted to hide his identity, so for the purposes of this article, his new name is 'Ben. Each week, he goes to the sex offender registry office and registers as a 'homeless sex offender. I have to choose between life and death to follow the law," said Ben. Adams said the weekly registering sets up sex offenders, like Ben, for failure.
Homeless shelters in Tulsa aren't allowed to take sex offenders like Ben, because of how close they are to schools or parks. Adams said he's brought up his concern to lawmakers several times. He said, in private they'll agree, but in public- no one wants to be the champion for the sex offender.
You're actually less safe because you can't tell your child- stay away from the brown house with the green trim because that's a sex offender. You don't know because we've lost so many," said Adams. Adams said they department receives grants from the state to help search for missing sex offenders, however without those grants, they don't have the man power. He said he knows one way that Oklahoma can fix the problem. Get a legislative study, bring law enforcement in on the ground, and let's get something that works for everybody," said Adams.
As for now, Adams said, they'll continue to do the best they can to keep tabs on the offenders they do know.