It’s sweeps season in Oklahoma!
As you know, that means news directors, anchors, reporters and even cameramen are hitting the streets looking for cliché news stories that ignite fear and panic in order to generate ratings so they can then charge David Stanley more to mislead Oklahomans with deceptive advertising.
I’m proud to say that my KFOR co-w0rker Lance West – who, by the way, uses the microwave in the employee break room to reheat leftover curry – came up with the ultimate sweeps headline. It contains the two words every news director loves – schools and sexual predators.
Check it out:
KFOR Investigation: How many sex offenders live near your child’s school?
Thousands of men and women have been convicted of everything from indecent exposure to sexual exploitation, child porn to rape.
Many have served their time and are quietly living among us.
“There’s more sex offenders in Oklahoma City than police officers, and we have over 1,100 police officers, ” MSgt. Gary Knight, with the Oklahoma City Police Department, said.
NewsChannel 4 spent several weeks crunching the numbers and exposing Oklahoma City schools with the most convicted sex offenders living nearby.
“They are living there legally. There is nothing illegal about the places where they are living. It’s not against the law to be a registered sex offender. But it’s certainly something people can keep tabs on,” Knight said.
So, you’re investigating how many sexual predators legally live near a school. I know I’m new to this TV news gig, but if these people are living in a legal location that’s a not within a certain distance from a school, why is that worthy of a news story? With a state budgets crisis, earthquakes, and crazy laws being introduced by legislators, it seems like there are more important iss….
FEEEEEAR! FEEEEEEEEEEEEAR! FEEEEEEEEEAR. SEXUAL PREDATORS ARE EVERYWHERE AND THEY’RE COMING FOR YOUR CHILDREN! LOCK YOUR DOORS!!! TAKE TORNADO SAFETY PRECAUTIONS!!!
Wow. That was kind of fun. Maybe it’s time I become a TV news reporter!
Even though most “sex offenders” comply with the law and live at least 2,000 feet away from a school, Lance West came up with his own methodology and investigated how many predators live within “walking distance” to a school. That’s an important stat to consider, because you know, Oklahoma City is such a walkable place and access to cars is extremely limited:
Sex offenders are required to live at least 2,000 feet away from a school. Most comply, but that doesn’t stop them from living within walking distance.
“I’m not sure if 2,000 feet is enough protection for our children,” Bob Horton said.
Cesar Chavez Elementary School has 29 sex offenders living within a one mile radius.
“Totally surprised to know that there are 29 around the school. There’s a lot of kids who walk, and that’s crazy. By themselves, no adults, no nothing. Crazy that 29 live around here,” said Stephanie Rogers.
Webster Middle School has the third highest population of sex offenders near the campus with 41.
“I never knew there were that many and I lived right next to the elementary. It’s pretty hard to believe,” said Kerk Roberts.
Hayes Elementary School registered 44 offenders in the vicinity.
“That is absolutely scary. I thought there were laws to protect us from those types of predators,” Horton said.
When we searched Bodine Elementary, the results were staggering.
“We are sorry but your search by radius returns too many offenders, please reduce your search radius distance,” Ashley Vester said. “I bet if the parents knew how many were around they would have a fit. That’s crazy, very surprised.”
I don’t want to by that guy who comes to defense of sexual predators. We should be wary of most of them. They’re sexual predators! But… what’s the point of all these numbers? What do they mean or represent? Are those schools less safe than any other school? I ask that because according to most studies, 75% of reported cases of child sexual abuse are committed by family members or other individuals who are considered part of the victim’s “circle of trust.” By that logic, shouldn’t KFOR investigate how many uncles, creepy family friends, etc. live near schools?
Here’s the final snippet. Lance saved the best for last:
Police caution that just because a school has more sex offenders nearby doesn’t necessarily mean those students are more at risk.
There are those on the list who did not commit violent offenses.
Instead, officials say it’s important to talk with your children about “stranger danger.”
Okay, so the only thing we really learned from this “investigation” is that having sex offenders live “nearby” a school doesn’t mean your kids are any less safe than normal. We also learned that news channels love to pander to simpleton viewers with…
FEEEEEAR! FEEEEEEEEEEEEAR!! FEEEEEEEEEAR!!! SEXUAL PREDATORS ARE EVERYWHERE!
That’s better. Now I feel safe.