Counties keeping track of sex offenders on Halloween - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Counties keeping track of sex offenders on Halloween

Trick or treating in groups, carrying flashlights, and checking candy are ways to keep your kids safe this Halloween. And again this year, East Texas law enforcement agencies are lending you their help. KLTV 7's Courtney Lane shows us what's done here in East Texas to protect children from sex predators.

You never know who could be behind the door. That's why these guys will be out on Halloween, and it's no costume they're wearing.

"We've created teams of probation officers that will be going out on Halloween night and will be checking on the sex offenders to make sure we know where they are," said Gerald Hayden, the Smith County Adult Probation Director.

Still, some parents say they're not taking their kids door-to-door at all.

"Sex offenders is a big concern because it's not just little girls anymore. I mean, it's any child, and I don't want to put him in that position and I don't want to be in that position at all," said Rachel Brousseau.  

"You have to be worried about it because, I mean, you never know where they are," said Markitta McCleveland.

Different states have different regulations.

In Missouri, for instance, sex offenders have to post a sign saying they have no candy.

South Carolina requires a curfew, and here in Texas, registered sex offenders are warned of regulations as well.

"We talk to them beforehand and tell them what we expect them to do which is to stay away from the kids and that would include, of course, not having a light on," said Hayden.

These preventative steps are comforting to parents.

"How little kids run around and stuff, and they could easily grab little kids and stuff so I think it's good that they're doing that," said McCleveland.

Still, adult probation offices advise that you only take kids to homes of friends or family members.

"I think the days are gone where we can just take them all over town anywhere," said Hayden.

"You know, you could send them around the neighborhood but nowadays you just have to stay right with them and we only go to places that we know the people," said Barbara Murray, a concerned grandmother.

You can also check a registry of sex offenders on the DPS website.

It's not just Smith County that sends out probation officers on Halloween. Others we talked to, like Cherokee County, do as well.

Van Zandt County does an annual round-up, and says they keep a tight reign on registered sex offenders.

Courtney Lane, reporting.

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