• 75°

Sex offender reports prompt call for caution

Troy Police Chief Randall Barr is encouraging residents to stay aware and take basic safety precautions after some residents have reported seeing a registered sex offender around the area of Troy University.

‘In light of some of the reports that we’ve had, we just want folks to be on alert and be aware of their surroundings and be sure that they are careful dealing with people they don’t know, especially if they ask for money or a ride or something like that,” Barr said. “You don’t want to put someone you don’t know in your car and take them to an ATM or somewhere else not knowing what their intent is.”

Barr advised that residents should use common sense and go with their gut feeling about a situation.

“If your gut tells you to be careful, listen to that thought,” Barr said. “Don’t answer an unexpected knock on the door in the middle of the night. If someone comes knocking on your door at midnight or 1, 2, 3 o’ clock in the morning saying their vehicles broke down and they need a ride, common sense says not to come to the door. Certainly don’t get up and take someone to get gas in the middle of the night that you don’t know. Call the police and let them speak with this person.”

Barr said that state law does not actually ban sex offenders from being on college campuses or from living within 2,000 feet of them.

That rule actually only applies to schools providing K-12 education.

However, sex offenders are barred from living within 2,000 feet of a childcare facility, and Barr said nearby daycare centers would effectively keep sex offenders from living too near to campus.

Barr said the best policy to stay safe is awareness.

“We encourage folks to be aware. Make sure your doors are locked when you’re driving so whether you’re driving through at a restaurant or stopped at a light, nobody can open your door,” Barr said. “I’d encourage folks to get on the sex offender website and look at the offenders that are registered and live in the county. See if they’re near where you live or an area you may travel. “

Residents can check the sex offender registry for Pike County at www.pikecountyalsheriff.com.

“We just want people to be safe each and every day and they should be aware of their surroundings,” Barr said.

“That’s a 24/7 responsibility that each of us have. Give yourself time to react. If you’re not paying attention to what’s around you, someone and be on you before you have time to react. A second can make all the difference in the world.”