FORT SMITH (KFSM)—Convicted sex offenders have several restrictions placed on where they can live, which means they often congregate into certain areas. In Fort Smith, areas with a concentrated sex offender population has concerned some people who live nearby.
Meridith Burns, who lives on Boston Street said most of her neighbors are kind people, but she has had some problems with the Cambridge Apartments behind her home, where nine Level-3 sex offenders live.
“It's very scary. I'm a single parent,” she said. “I have a 12–year-old little girl, and I don't feel safe in my own home.”
She said she has been startled several times in the past three weeks.
“I have actually had them climb my fence. I've actually had one knock on the door, and when I didn't answer, I watched him go in my garage door, and he looked in to see if my car was there,” Burns said. “There are nights that I think someone's coming by, banging on my daughter's window, just to scare her, just for the heck of it.”
Burns said she eventually called Fort Smith police after catching one of the sex offenders feeding her dog.
“The policemen talked to him, and told him not to feed my dog anymore, and it wasn't more than a week later an undercover police officer had that man over the hood of the car in handcuffs,” she said.
Sgt. Daniel Grubbs, with the Fort Smith Police Department, said sex offenders are allowed to live in those apartments because it’s not a designated safe zone, as highlighted on this map in yellow.
“As far as them looking at areas where by law they can live, that's where you see them clustering because of availability of rental,” Sgt. Grubbs said.
Another area where at least 20 registered sex offenders live is on Xavier Street. Some of those offenders have been convicted of rape, sexual abuse and child molestation.
“Make sure you know your surroundings and who lives around you,” Burns said.
You can access the sex-offender registry here.