Trick or treating is fun -- but it can also be scary for parents as their kids knock on stranger’s doors. Anne tells us why we need to be on guard this Halloween.
Dangers of Halloween Night Audra: Trick or treating is fun but it can also be pretty scary for parents as their kids knock on random stranger’s doors. And to tells us why we need be on guard this Halloween Female1: On Halloween night little costumed kids come out to trick or treat. But don’t be trick into a false sense of security when it comes to looking after you children especially with regard to sex offenders in your community. Denise O Donnell is the deputy secretary for public safety in New York in commissioner of the states division of criminal justice. Denise: I don’t know why you would want your child to trick or treat at the home of a known sex offender. Many sex offenders are under obligation not to interact with children, not to answer the door, many sex offenders who under supervision are required to be home so they maybe home and while trick or treating is going on. But I really can’t see any benefit to wanting your child to trick or treat at the home of a known sex offender and lots of benefits to finding out where sex offenders do live in your community. Anne: Every state has a sex offender registry and most are available online or over the phone using 1800 number. This allows parents to locate sex offenders in their communities, making it easy for them to avoid sex offender’s homes on Halloween. Denise: I think the sex offender registry is a tool, it’s only one tool. It’s not a basis to let down your guard or to be less vigilant about your children and sex offenders that maybe in your neighborhood but it is a way or very easy way for parents to go online and to find out whether the are registered sex offenders in your neighborhood and to use that information when your child is trick or treating. Female1: But in most states, it’s up to the offenders to register themselves and there’s no guarantee they’re providing the correct information. Denise: We don’t know for sure what we do have is very active program to go out and check addresses. To go out and check for sex offenders who don’t register and try to locate them, but again next going down in tracking sex offenders who haven’t registered. They may register and provide false information that we might not even be aware of it. Female1: That’s why the commissioner says, the sex offender registry is just one tool parents can use to protect their children on Halloween. Denise: In fact the vast majority of individuals who commit sex offenses are not on the sex offender registry. Most of them are committing offenses for the first time, most of the offenders who commits sex offenses against kids are people who are in their child’s life whether it is unfortunately a parent or an adult that has access to the child or someone that the child engages with in their normally activities. Female1: There are steps parents can’t take to keep their children safe while trick or treating. Denise: The first thing parents can do is go with their kids and that becomes more challenging as your kids get older. But it is important to be there, to know where they’re going and who they’re interacting with, I think is very important Female1: And make sure you know whose door bell is ringing. Denise: Being there, being vigilant, knowing the houses where the kids going trick or treating is probably the safest way to spend the holiday. Audra: And to more safety tips and other parenting information make sure to check out Parents TV at Parents.com.