GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Thursday was the start to summer vacation, which means for the next few months kids will be roaming neighborhoods and visiting favorite play areas. But a sexual predator could be lurking nearby that playground and watching your child from the comfort of their home.
There are more than 200 registered sex offenders living in the Grand Junction city limits at any given time. And there's no law saying they can't live in school zones and near playgrounds.
That lack of regulation worries some parents who say sex offenders are lurking too close for comfort. “I am aware of several sex offenders and predators that have located to this area,” says Linda Kiggins, a concerned parent.
Kiggins is a grandmother and legal guardian of three young kids. “Joseph is six, Joy is seven and Trinity just turned 10,” says Kiggins.
She worries about their safety and regularly visits the online Sex Offender Registry, keeping an eye on who is moving in ever since she witnessed suspicious behavior from a man at a nearby park.
“He had a very high powered lens on that camera and I really question the shots he was getting,” says Kiggins.
That scared her. So she spoke with police, who told her there are no laws preventing sex offenders from living anywhere they please.
“We need to think of the children first,” says Kiggins. So she's asking for a law, making it illegal for sex offenders to live near a school zone or playground.
“If we allow them to just set up house in an area that has a school, playground or even parks for that matter, are we really doing our fair service to them to help them stay on the program?” says Kiggins.
“The police department does not have any jurisdiction over designating where a sex offender can live,” says Kate Porras, spokesperson for the Grand Junction Police Department.
Unless part of an offender's sentence specifically says they can't live near a school zone, there's no stopping them from doing so.
So for now Kiggins does what she can. “I show the kids pictures of these people. Not that they will remember, but they need to be also alert,” says Kiggins.
District Attorney Pete Hautzinger says House Bill 1364 called the ‘Sex Offender Management Board”, will be reworked next legislative session. In the meantime, the public can contact Colorado lawmakers to request a law that will restrict where sex offenders can live.