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BellaOnline's Missing and Exploited Children Editor

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Zero Tolerance for Child Offenders on Halloween


Many states have a zero tolerance for sex offenders this Halloween. What exactly does zero tolerance mean for a sex offender? Zero tolerance means sex offenders cannot decorate their homes with Halloween lights or decorations. On Halloween, offenders cannot turn on their porch light or pass out Halloween candy to children who are trick or treating. If the offender has a child or children, they must find someone to take their child or children trick or treating on Halloween. The offender cannot have nor go to a Halloween or costume party, maze or haunted house where children might be present nor can they sponsor or have one of these events on their own.

Tennessee and New York are two states with zero tolerance policies this year for sex offenders on parole or probation. On Halloween tradition stands that, if your porch light is on it means you are giving out candy to trick or treaters. Sex offenders must keep their porch lights turned off or pay the results. States, counties and cities will have extra officers working to do manual spot-checks on high-risk sex offenders verifying that they are following the rules on Halloween.

In New York, sex offenders can expect, unexpected home visits, as well as surveillance and curfew checks. Paroled sex offenders in New York will be on in home lock down. This means sex offenders must remain in their home from Halloween at 3 p.m., until the next morning at 6 a.m. The goal is to keep sex offenders off the street and away from children.

Still other sex offenders in areas of Ohio, and North Carolina, will attend meetings with authorities, which will take place during the time most children are out trick or treating. Maryland has told sex offenders to keep porch lights off, not to pass out candy, and to beware there will be officers out to check that they are following the rules.

What then is all the fuss over sex offenders passing out candy on Halloween? Authorities feel that whenever a child and a sex offender come in close contact with each other, it puts the offender at a higher risk of reoffending. One important safety guideline for parents and children is never to go to a home in your neighborhood you do not know. Never send a child out trick or treating alone. Even older children need to go in pairs or in groups of three or more. There is safety in numbers. Make sure children have a two-way radio, cell phone or other way to contact home in the event of an emergency.

Check your National Sex Offender Registry and know which houses in your neighborhood are sex offenders. When out trick or treating do not visit these houses. If a sex offenders house has the porch light on or is passing out candy, contact your local authorities. Make them aware that a sex offender lives there and they might be violating the law.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Erika Lyn Smith. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Erika Lyn Smith. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Erika Lyn Smith for details.

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