STOCKTON, CA-The Stockton citygovernment had a highly publicized eviction of homeless squatters at a shanty town down in Mormon Slough last week.
However, further down the Slough, by Jefferson and A Streets, a different campsite was quietly dismantled; it was the long time home to dozens of sex offenders.
"All of them, the 20 that were there, couldn't find housing that was compliant with Jessica's Law," California State Parole Delta District Administrator Julie Kaplan said. "Homeless shelters they can't go to, because they're family shelters with children and women. Some found businesses that gave them permission to stay on private property."
Kaplan said when transient sex offenders are evicted, the parole agents have to scramble to keep tabs on them.
The California State Parole District in Stockton currently has 20 transient registered sex offenders under its watch. San Joaquin County Probation Department has seven homeless sex offenders. Both agencies track sex offenders with GPS ankle bracelets.
"We get five minute increments on a map that show exactly where that offender has been," SJC Probation Department Assist. Chief Stephanie James said. "We can also set up exclusion or inclusion zones and if the offender steps somewhere where he shouldn't be, his agent is notified immediately."
Onehomeless registered sex offender said the GPS device must kept charged.
"We're tracked. A computer tells them exactly where we're at and it sets off an alarm if you're violating," said the offender, who wished to remain anonymous.
Kaplan said a week after the city's evictionof Mormon Slough, many of the 20 registered sex offenders are now back at Mormon Slough. The campsite now sits further out of view from the above neighborhood on A Street.
"They let their parole agents know they were moving back or near that area," Kaplan said.
On Wednesday afternoon, a homeless sex offender registered at the probation department that he was now staying in Mormon Slough.
"We did verify that this morning that he was in fact at Mormon Slough yesterday," James said.
Jameshad no probationary sex offenders staying in Mormon Slough prior to the city eviction last week.
While law enforcement agencies know where homeless sex offenders are at all times,citizens do not. The state sex offender online registry does not list the last known location of transient sex offenders.
"It's unnerving, because you don't know who's down there or how many," said a mother living in the neighborhood above Mormon Slough.
"We went down there to play on dirt bikes and saw a lot of tents," said 17-year-old Tracey Jenkins.
Jenkinsfound out sex offenders were living below her neighborhood after she and her friends stumbled onto their camp.
"Now I can't go anywhere by myself and I stay away from there. It freaks me out," Jenkins said.
A few neighbors in the neighborhood above Mormon Slough said they still feel safe in their neighborhood despite the sex offender campsite.
"They keep to themselves mostly," one mother said. "If they keep a good eye on them, then it's fine."
Homeless sex offenders on parole must register every 30 days at the nearest police station. Those on county probation report to their parole agent every Wednesday.