It's a way to protect East Texas children. That's what the town of Lindale hopes to accomplish with a new ordinance approved Tueaday night. It targets registered sex offenders whose victims were under 16, preventing them from living within a 1,000 feet of places frequented by children.
Margie Capps of Little Eagles Day School in Lindale has worked with children for 14 years. The city's new sex offender ordinance, Margie says is something she's been waiting for.
"I think it's time somebody steps up for our children," said Margie Capps, Little Eagles Day School Employee. "I'm a grandmother and I'm a mother, and I would like to think I can relax when my children, or all these children go out there and play." The city says it's been thinking about adopting the ordinance for several months, and decided to put it into action after Mt. Enterprise passed its ordinance.
"Certainly it's been in the four front in the news of late, and some very tragic things have happened, and we are just trying to do what we can to prevent those things as best as we can," said Jim Cox, Lindale City Administrator. Using the DPS Sex Offender Registry, KLTV 7 found four sex offenders living in Lindale. All are outside the 1,000 feet limit. So, exactly how far is a 1,000 feet? It's about the length of three football fields, which some parents say is just not far enough.
"A 1,000 feet is just right around the corner," said Joanie Murdoch, Lindale parent. "They can pull up in a car and just sit there and watch your kids."
"It's just scary," said Nada Huff, Lindale parent. "It just takes a split second and you never see your child again." The city says a 1,000 feet is the standard set by approximately 40 Texas cities. For a town the size of Lindale, city officials and the citizens hope it will make a difference.
"Yes, I'm very happy they are standing up for our children because who else will if we don't," said Capps.
There are some exceptions to the ordinance like it does not affect those sex offenders who are minors. Also any registered sex offenders already living within the 1,000 feet are not required to move.