Halloween is a week away, so it’s time to get your costumes ready and begin to plan out your route for the best candy in the neighborhood—as well as to keep your child safe.
D.C., Maryland and Virginia all have sex offender registries which you can use to pinpoint which homes in your area are occupied by registered sex offenders.
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In a statement put out by the Frederick County sheriff’s office, it’s important to note that being registered in Maryland doesn’t necessarily stop offenders from participating in Halloween activities, like giving out candy to trick-or-treaters. Sex offenders currently on probation or parole may be required by their agent to post a “no-candy” sign on their door. These requirements, however, are not enforced by Frederick County on all offenders.
In Virginia, sex offenders who are on supervision by probation officers may be required to keep their porch lights off and not open the door to trick-or-treaters. Virginia state police and Virginia corrections officers will be checking on supervised offenders on Halloween night. Sex offenders who are not on supervision, although included on the registry, may participate in Halloween activities, with the only exception being Virginia law which restricts offenders’ access to school property.
In D.C., non-supervised sex offenders may also be allowed to participate in trick-or-treating.
In years past, some jurisdictions have participated in “Operation Porch Lights Out,” during which time officers check in on supervised sex offenders to see that their porch lights are off and they’re at home, to avoid seeming as those they’re attracting trick-or-treaters.
Parents are encouraged to be cautious when planning out their trick-or-treating routes and to remind unaccompanied children to never enter the homes of strangers nor accept rides from them on Halloween night.