AUSTIN (KXAN) - Austin police are cracking down on sex offenders who aren't following the law by registering with the state. The recent push to make sure sex offenders are complying with this law has been the result of a grant that gives APD more resources.
In recent months APD's violent crimes unit received a $297,000 grant. That money has allowed the Sex Offenders Apprehension and Registration unit to add two full-time officers. Those officers spend four days a week checking on hundreds of convicted sex offenders in the city of Austin.
"We have about 1, 409 registered sex offenders in Austin. About 409 of those are incarcerated, the rest are living in the community," said Commander Julie O'Brien, with the Austin Police Department's Violent Crimes Unit.
- So how many are actually incarcerated? You can tell you simply pulled this number out of thin air.
For those living in the community, they are required by law to register as a sex offender with the police department. Those who don't are breaking the law and could be arrested. In the past, Austin police have had their hands full keeping track of those who should be on the list and living in a certain area.
"The goal is that every single one of the sex offenders will be checked on in their home once a quarter [and] to go in and check on them inside their residence and make sure they are where they are supposed to be," said Commander O'Brien.
With this new grant, the task is a bit easier. The federal grant helps police departments monitor, track and even apprehend offenders who fail to register. With the Adam Walsh Act going into effect next summer, the laws are going to change and this grant will help educate.
"For the registered sex offender, it changes the amount of time that they have to register or notify use when they change address if from seven days to three, " says Commnader O'Brien.
Since the grant was enacted, police say they have issued about a dozen arrest warrants for offenders who have not registered.