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Sex offender clusters - Do you know the man or woman down the street?


How well do you know your next door neighbor? What about the man or woman down the street?

You might want to get to know them after you read this story. When we started digging into the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's Sex Offender Registry, we noticed some neighborhoods had a lot of sex offenders. 

One of those streets is East Fairview Avenue. We found five sex offenders living on the street.

In fact, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Sex Offender Registry, 49 sex offenders live in a two mile radius of one part of that street as seen in the map below. 

Across town, near East Tennessee State University, the registry lists 34 sex offenders who live within a two mile radius of Colony Park Drive.

News Channel 11's Melissa Hipolit explores why so many sex offenders live in these neighborhoods and what is being done to keep you safe.

Cortney McCallum and her five children live at the epicenter of one of the largest sex offender clusters in the Tri-Cities region.

"I don't even have words for it - I'm shocked, I really am." McCallum lives on East Fairview Avenue in Johnson City, along a stretch of the street where five sex offenders live.

"Something has gotta change, because I had no clue," said McCallum.

The TBI Sex Offender Registry lists five convicted sex offenders as living between the 400 and 700 blocks on E. Fairview Ave.

If you extend the registry search to a two mile radius from one portion of Fairview, it states there are 49 sex offenders living in the area. 

Ashley Newland monitors some of those offenders for the state and said this side of Interstate 26 is a popular place for sex offenders to live. 

"On this particular area, on this street, they meet those requirements, there are no playgrounds, parks or schools within a thousand feet," said Newland. 

Newland said many of the offenders are receiving or have received psycho-sexual therpay, but he considers them dangerous.

"They are convicted sex offender felons. A lot of these guys have been in prison and are now living amongst us. They are dangerous. There is no doubt," said Newland. 

When these offenders are on probation with the state, officers like Newland routinely check up on them. 

"Our policy allows us to do home visits on them anytime we feel necessary," said Newland.

But, once these sex offenders complete their jail time and probation sentence, they are no longer under the eye of the state.

Instead, they are required to register with local agencies like the Johnson City Police Department.

"They've already filled their obligation to society as far as their punishment is," said Sgt.Van Mominee from the Johnson City Police Department's Community Policing Unit.

The TBI said under state law local law enforcement agencies are not required to randomly check to make sure offenders are living where they are supposed to.

"Our policy is that unless there is a red flag of some kind we as a rule do not go out and check on them," said Sgt.Van Mominee.

In another part of Johnson City near ETSU, there are three sex offenders living on just one block of Colony Park Drive.

The neighborhood is heavily populated by college students.

One of those students who asked us to refer to her as Kori said this when we told her about the sex offenders living in her neighborhood.

"I had no idea, I don't think anybody else did either, so I guess I'm going to keep to myself some more. Whose to say they won't do something creepy again?" 

And that is why Officer Newland and Sargeant van Mominee recommend everyong look at the TBI Sex Offender Registry to see where the sex offenders are in your neighborhood.

Be cautious, be vigilant of who your neighbors are, know who lives beside you," said Officer Newland. 

"Be aware of what is going on - keep your eyes open, and if you see anything, by all means report it," said Sgt. Mominee. 

It is advice that McCallum is already taking to heart. 

"Knowledge is power and I thank you guys for letting me know because I had no clue," said McCallum.


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