There are now 47 registered sex offenders living in Liberal
By ANANDA COLEMAN
• Leader & Times
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is the first in a series called the Crime and Justice series, geared toward making the community aware of various criminal activities and justice oriented efforts happening in Liberal, as well organizations dedicated to assisting victims of crime.
Midwestern and rural areas are typically considered to be safe, wholesome environments, ideal for young families with children. However, communities like Liberal are not without serious criminal issues, especially in light of the many on-going rape and sexual assault cases.
Liberal is home to 20,956 people, according to information gathered by the United States Census Bureau. Currently, 47 of those people are registered sex offenders.
Thanks to the digital age, citizens do not have to be left in the dark. This information is provided by the state and is readily available online at: http://www.homefacts.com/offenders/Kansas/Seward-County/Liberal.html, and it is accessible to anyone who wants to know.
An interactive map at the site offers viewers with detailed information, including how close an offender lives to a school or nursing home. Offenders’ names and addresses are listed next to a map, indicating where they live.
For more specific information, curious citizens can navigate to an offender’s individual page, where their offense or statute is listed along with their age, weight and height, a photograph of the offender, as well as the date the offense took place.
While people could be quick to assume that various ethnic demographics are responsible for these deviant activities, the statistics are evenly spread, especially in light of Liberal’s rapidly increasing diversity.
Around 60 percent of the offenders are Hispanic, which correlates exactly to the town’s percentage of Latino residents.
Approximately 30 percent are Caucasian, which, again, mirrors Liberal’s 33.3 percent white population.
The most significantly different statistics tied to ethnicity arise in relation to the African American community, which only makes up 3.7 percent of Liberal’s population, but contributes about 10 percent of the offenders.
However, the largest discrepancy arises in relation to gender, not race. While Liberal’s community is nearly evenly divided between male and female members, the 93.6 percent of the offenders are male, while a mere 6.4 percent are female.
Liberal’s statistics are in line with those statewide. According to the same website, www.homefacts.com, Kansas is home to 6,785 registered sex offenders.
The ratio is approximately 23.51 offenders per 10,000 residents, with 1,523 of the offenders being incarcerated and another 271 are in unknown locations. Often this occurs because offenders are transient or have unmapped addresses.