MIDLAND/ODESSA - A rise in sex offenders in the Basin, all because of the boom. But where are these criminals more likely to prey?
The mall, playgrounds and parks are where many families and children come out to enjoy the summertime. Coincidentally, that's where sex offenders tend to enjoy themselves as well.
Because of the rise in sex offenders in the Basin, NewsWest 9 set out to investigate their criminal tactics and what children can do to protect themselves.
"There has been a correlation between the offenders and the boom that we've had here," Cpl. Steve LeSueur, Public Information Officer of Odessa Police, said.
Sex offenders use many methods to attract their prey, such as candy or pets.
"I've seen cases where the individual promised the child a video game, a video system. It's just numerous ways," Sgt. Ben Chavez with the Midland Police Department, said.
They even impersonate police officers. Like sex offender Cornelius Bible who was arrested in Midland after he told a runaway teen he was an undercover cop.
The majority of the time, police say the offender knows the child.
A good start for kids is don't walk through isolated places.
"If you don't know the person, don't talk to them. You never walk alone anywhere. You always walk in groups. You never walk alone at night time," Chavez said.
They can also yell 'Stranger danger!' at the top of their lungs.
So how far can these criminals live from schools, parks or places children congregate? That depends on their terms in court and the severity of the crime.
OPD and DPS websites have up-to-date information on sex offenders and if they live in your neighborhood.
"Sex offenders are required to constantly update their information. Unfortunately that doesn't happen as much as we'd like it to," LeSueur said.
If you know of someone who has not updated their sex offender registry, call police.