WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Having registered sex offenders as neighbors is leaving some people concerned about their kids' safety. In less than a month six registered sex offenders moved into one Wilmington residence that's right down the street from the Brigade Boys and Girls Club.
Sabrina Rivera lives down the street from the Tree of Life home.
"There are kids here, there and everywhere," she said.
She said she didn't know the sex offenders had moved into the neighborhood until she looked at the online sex offender registry.
"The only way you're going to find out if they're there is if you keep yourself educated," Rivera said.
Tree of Life's director Jonathan Washburn said it wasn't his original plan to let sex offenders live at the facility for people trying to recover from substance abuse.
"When the first one came to me, I did not view that as a reason to exclude them from the opportunity for recovery," he said.
He said facilities like his can be safer than if they were living on their own.
"At least here, they do have a regular, monitored lifestyle. They're meeting all of the requirements that anybody who's living in an addictive recovery community would meet," he said.
According to North Carolina General Statue 110‑86, boys and girls clubs are not considered schools or child care centers. So, they are not subject to laws that prohibit sex offenders from living 1,000 feet away from schools and child care centers.
Washburn said he wants to work with people who live in the area so they can be good neighbors.
"If anybody in the neighborhood has something to suggest about ways we could do things here, we'd like to hear it," he said.
He said he has not ruled out prohibiting sexual offenders from registering to live there. Today is the first time he's heard that neighbors have an issue with it.
As for Rivera, she said parents have to keep an eye on their neighborhoods.
"As a parent, you have to be an advocate for your children your street and the children in your neighborhood," she said.
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