It’s one of the busiest areas in Albuquerque, surrounded by shopping, a skate park, and several schools and parks. So why is a registered sex offender living out of his car in the Cottonwood Mall parking lot? One might assume he must be breaking the rules but he hasn’t done anything wrong.
Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Jeffrey Scott Hunter oversees the department’s sex offender tracking unit. He says people are often surprised and angry to learn that once an offender is finished with probation or parole, there are no restrictions about where that person can register to live.
Despite criticism and concern, Maestas argues the law is sound and does its job. “The sex offender registry is solely for the purpose of monitoring and tracking… nothing more nothing less,” said Maestas. He says there is no talk at the Roundhouse about further amending the sex offender registration laws.
BCSO says homeless offenders don’t give them any more trouble than anyone else who’s supposed to register. They just want to make sure everyone who is supposed to register does. “It’s when they don’t comply that our job is difficult,” said Hunter.
BCSO says the number of offenders in the county continues to steadily grow and as of now, six detectives are responsible for keeping tabs on the county’s 1,300 offenders.