OMAHA (KPTM) - You can find sex offenders just about everywhere and the odds are that one or more lives near you.
"Right now, there are close to 1,000 sex offenders living in Douglas County alone," said Chief Deputy Marty Bilek with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.
With that in mind, Fox 42 News wanted to know if convicted offenders listed on the state registry are living where they're supposed to.
At random, and with the help of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, I selected 30 names from the registry. During my investigation, I found just three of the 30 sex offenders I was looking for.
"We do check up on every single sex offender, but we prioritize as well," said Bilek.
I dug deeper and found out the Douglas County Sheriff's Office only has two deputies whose full-time job is to make sure registered offenders are staying where they're supposed to.
"In terms of public safety, is that enough?" I asked Bilek.
"You know, we do a pretty good job with the two investigators," responded Bilek. "If we felt like we weren't doing a good enough job, then we'd have to add more personnel."
So I went back out to the neighborhoods to conduct my own search and to see if those on the registry believe the system is fair or flawed.
"The big problem is that I'm constantly harassed," said Bill who didn't want to reveal his true identity to us. "Nobody cares about your side of the story either."
A current Omaha city ordinance dictates that sex offenders are not allowed to live within 500 feet of a school. It's something State Senator Dave Bloomfield is trying to expand on with LB 473. He wants to make it illegal for child sex offenders to live within 500 feet of parks 2,500 square feet or bigger statewide. It's garnering the support of some parents, while others wonder if it goes far enough.
"There's nothing we can do about the fact that a sex offender is living in your neighborhood, unless they violate the law," said Bilek.
Four years ago, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office enlisted the aid of Omaha Police to monitor sex offenders. Chief Deputy Bilek says it's been helpful, but because authorities can't be everywhere all at once there's always the possibility that sex offenders are lingering in places where they don't belong.
To find out if a sex offender is living in your neighborhood, the Sheriff's Office urges you to check out the following link: https://sor.nebraska.gov/
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