DENVER — In Mid-November, Caitlin Jones-Bamman was shocked to receive not one, but three written notifications that three separate individuals given the label "sexually violent predator" were all moving in to one house across the street.
She later learned the letters came weeks after they had already moved in.
"The individual subject of the notification has been convicted of a sex offense that requires law enforcement registration," each of the three letters read. "Further, they have been determined to present a high potential to re-offend and are therefore subject to community notification regarding their residence in this community."
Jones-Bamman said she was not given any notice that the individuals were living in the house until the letter, and they caused concern for families there, many who have small children.
"We were all just incredibly alarmed by the notifications that were sent out. The language that's used is very inflammatory. It's sort of a warning that these very dangerous people are living right next door," Jones-Bamman said. "That's our biggest concern is the safety of our community."
Since then, two of the people identified as sexually violent predators have moved from the house and replaced with two others characterized as sex offenders, a lesser charge. But neighbors say they were given no say or previous notification that the house would be used for rent to anyone with those labels.
"Ultimately, it's the homeowners decision. They can do what they want, they're not breaking any laws," Jones-Bamman said. "I just feel like there should be a chance for the community to be involved in that decision."
Neighbors also expressed concern about the high turnover rate at the home, potentially receiving new residents deemed sex offenders every six months.
"I think a lot of people are really worried and nervous because of the lack of communication and just don't know what's going on" Jones-Bamman said. "As a parent, your mind goes to the worst possible place."
On Monday, Denver city councilwoman Kendra Black, who represents District 4, held a town hall meeting for neighbors about the house. Several members of the Denver Police Department parole board also attended and explained the process for moving people into the house.
"What we learned tonight is that these individuals have a right to live there. They need to live somewhere, and we have sex offenders living throughout Denver," Black said after the meeting on Monday. "These individuals have completed their sentence, and they are on parole and they are monitored 24 hours a day."
Individuals who are deemed to be sex offenders often have strict protocols for reintegration through housing. All three of the residents at the home are monitored with daily GPS tracking and parole visits.
"We want them to be in an environment, a wholesome environment, either living in an apartment, perhaps with a roommate, or living in someone else's home," said Susan Walker, the founder for the Coalition for Sexual Offense Restoration that helped to place the three individuals. "They know that they're hated, and so it's a very challenging kind of a return to society."
Walker says the recidivism rate for sexual offenders is lower than the notification letters let on and that the process of relocating people identified as sexual offenders makes reintegration more difficult.
"For people to be so scared of folks who are so well watched, and with their ankle bracelets and their treatment and everything that they have to go through for many, many years. It's a misnomer," Walker said. "They need to put truthful information out and not scare people."
Still, the debate continues over the relocation of sex offenders and how neighbors should be notified.
"It just feels like this has really ripped our community apart," Jones-Bamman said.