The Hallsville City Council has approved an ordinance limiting where registered sex offenders may live, enter or loiter in the city through the creation of child safety zones.
The ordinance approved June 20 makes it unlawful for registered sex offenders within Hallsville to enter these areas and makes it illegal to rent to a sex offender in those designated area.
The child safety zones were defined as areas where children may gather and specifically include public parks, private and public schools, public libraries, amusement arcades, public or commercial semi-private swimming pools, child care facilities and institutions, public or private youth soccer or baseball fields, crisis center or shelter, skate parks or rinks, as well as youth centers, movie theaters, bowling alleys, Scouting facilities and the offices of Child Protective Services.
The ordinance applies to adult convicted offenders involving a sex crime or crimes with a child victim.
Four such convicted offenders are shown to live within Hallsville, according to the state’s sex offender registry.
Hallsville city officials said the Texas Sex Offender Registration Program itself does not prohibit registered sex offenders from living or going near places frequented by children. However, Texas community supervision and parole laws, as well as city ordinances, may require the imposition of a “child safety zone” if they choose to.
“This ordinance serves to further protect our children and maintain these restrictions once the limitations end at the completion of the offender’s parole or probation,” city officials wrote on Facebook.