Proposed Katy ordinance puts more distance between kids and predators | #predators | #childpredators | #kids

The city of Katy is taking extra steps – 1,500 to be exact – to keep kids safe from sex offenders.

A proposed ordinance will make it illegal for registered sex offenders to come within 2,500 feet of a place where children congregate, including schools, playgrounds, public parks, bus stops, video arcades, skate parks and athletic fields.

The ordinance, strongly supported by city council member Chris Harris, council member Dusty Thiele, Katy Police Chief Noe Diaz and Mayor Bill Hastings, is expected to go before city council for a vote at the April 12 city council meeting.

The city has no current ordinance regarding sex offenders, Diaz said, so Katy follows the state law mandating that registered sex offenders may only come within 1,000 feet of these locations.

The extra 1,500 feet, he said, will create additional safety for children. “It’s about constantly moving towards making a safe city,” Diaz said.

Currently, when officers see suspicious activity, they can’t do anything as long as the offenders are at least 1,000 feet away. That 1,000 feet doesn’t amount to much, he said, but police can’t intervene.

“We’d say, ‘Hey, use some common sense and don’t be here,’ but that’s really all we could do,” Diaz said. “Now we can issue a formal citation if they get that close.”

As the city grows and more families come to the area, Harris said, the ordinance will be especially important.

“The past few months, Mayor Hastings, the police chief and city attorney have worked with me to craft this legislation that will create a buffer zone around places children gather, including a potential new KISD school in Cane Island and new city parks,” Harris said. “This public safety legislation will provide enforcement and an additional tool for our law enforcement agencies.”

A map provided by the city showing the zones where sex offenders may not live or visit reveals that the majority ofthe area within the city limits will be prohibited from sex offenders, making the city virtually inaccessible to sexual predators

“The intention is to hang an ‘unwelcome’ sign to sex offenders near children in our community,” Harris said.

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