Sex offender crackdown labeled a success

HOUSTON The partnership with the U.S. Marshal's Office, Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff's Office netted several arrests and several predators were taken off the street, but it also revealed a statistic that some might find troubling.

Under the operation, officers managed to do compliance checks for 2,478 sex offenders in Harris County. Out of those, 207 non-compliant cases were opened, 67 cases filed, and 36 arrests were made. What the operation revealed was that 8.3 percent of that group had been non-compliant.

The U.S. Marshal's Office acknowledged Friday that percentage could be even higher because not all sex offenders in Harris County were checked this time. The partnership only looked at offenders that were the highest risk, representing about half of all sex offenders in the county.

"I think that Harris County and the Houston Police Department, they do a great job of doing the best they can to get people out on the street, get their people to go and check. But there's 5,100 total sex offenders in Harris County and to be able to check all of those on a routine basis is a very difficult task," said Shane Wechsler of the U.S. Marshal's Office. "So 8.3 percent if you looked nationwide, I think that number would actually be fairly consistent with the rest of the country. What we're hoping is to bring that number down some."

The partnership did manage not only to identify non-compliant sex offenders, they also made arrests on other charges. There were a total of 390 warrants closed.

Overall, officials considered the operation to be a success.

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