By Jen Kastner
MIDLAND- With the oil boom, comes growth with just about everything in the Basin. This includes sex offenders. Midland officials tell NewsWest 9, they are busier than ever with trying to get these men and women registered into their systems.
"There are people out there that [are registered sex offenders and] you'd have no idea. They could be sitting behind the counter of where you work right now," Sgt. Matt Vann with the Midland County Sheriff's Department, said.
The Sheriff's Department is extremely busy keeping track of all of these offenders. However, they say, that's just one of the aspects of living in a boomtown.
"If more people come in for work, a certain percentage are going to be registered sex offenders," Vann said.
Midland Police Department Detective Bill Anderson works on crimes against persons.
"Anything like this is disturbing but there's a definite need for somebody [to work on] this," Anderson said.
For the most part, he's the one responsible for getting sex offenders in the city registered into to the police department's system. The Midland Police Department and the Midland County Sheriff's Department say their numbers of registered sex offenders have jumped significantly over the past year or so.
Currently, the city of Midland has 225 registered sex offenders and Midland County has 172 registered sex offenders. That makes a total of 397 registered sex offenders.
"About 80 percent of them have committed crimes against children. Most of these are indecency with a child, sexual assault against a child or aggravated sexual assault of a child and the victims range from two years old to 14, 15 or 16 years old," Anderson said.
The majority of the offenders are men. We're told a good portion of them work in the energy industry but not all of them.
"They work in restaurants. They work in retail. They work in manufacturing. They work in the oil industry. They basically work in every facet out here," Anderson said.
Midland Police tells NewsWest 9 that a higher concentration of the offenders live in the southwest, central south and eastside of the city. In Midland County, they're spread out all over.
Although the workload for both the city and county has increased, officials say most of the offenders are easy to work with. However, the ones that aren't, can create some major headaches.
"It's a simple matter of reporting where you live and reporting where you work and there are people that still won't do that and it's very frustrating because it's so easy. It takes a trip to the Sheriff's Department and filling and out a form and then you're in compliance," Vann said.
Midland Police say there have been discussions raised about expanding their unit that handles sex offender registration.