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Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
  • Kent Bush: Know if your neighborhood is safe

  • The Butler County Sheriff’s Office has a program that helps people know if someone convicted of a crime moves into their neighborhood.
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  • Feeling safe is nice.
    People in Butler County have every reason to feel safe. We live in communities that are full of good people and our crime rates across the county prove that.
    But when a tool to keep yourself and your family safer is available, it is shortsighted not to take advantage of it.
    The Butler County Sheriff’s Office has a program that helps people know if someone convicted of a crime moves into their neighborhood.
    The OffenderWatch program is a system the sheriff’s office uses to track registered offenders. It allows anyone to sign up for email alerts for up to two miles from their home.
    I put my home address in just out of curiosity. More than 22 people have registered who live within two miles of my house. One is only a few doors down and a few more are on a street less than a block away.
    These aren’t people that were late for Sunday School two weeks in a row. Many have taken indecent liberties with a child or solicited a child for sex.
    Others have been convicted of distribution of methamphetamines and other drugs.
    Some are sex offenders convicted of crimes against adults. One of those offenders has to be in the running for ironic tattoo of the year with multiple crosses inked on his body and even a message that says “love hurts.”
    That knowledge forced me to have a tough discussion with my kids. Now they both know that some people are dangerous and they have to be careful when they are out playing on a trampoline or riding bikes.
    Even if you never let your children out of your site around your house, you still have to send kids to school, daycare or even church.
    With OffenderWatch, you can sign up school addresses and any other address that they go to. The program sends emails within 24 hours of an offender moving into the neighborhood.
    Anyone can receive automated alerts. If you want to receive alerts, you can sign up at http://www.icrimewatch.net/register.php?AgencyID=55097.
     
    Kent Bush is the publisher of the Augusta Gazette, the El Dorado Times, and the Andover American newspapers. He can be contacted at: kbush@augustagazette.com

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