- San Antonio Express-News: Some sex offenders under Halloween restrictions
- Ch. 10 News - Amarillo: Sex offender risks on Halloween
- KETK-News - Nacogdoches: ETX officers to monitor sex offenders on Halloween
- KENS-TV San Antonio: No tricks or treats for San Antonio sex offenders on Halloween
- ValleyCentral.com: Cameron County to round up sex offenders on Halloween
- Waco Tribune-Herald: Sex offenders under Halloween scrutiny
- KIII-TV - Corpus Christi: Nueces County Probation Department gearing up for Halloween sweep
- KXII-TV - Corpus Christi: Police remind parents to check sex offender registry before Halloween
- El Paso Times: El Paso officials hoping for safe night of Halloween fun
- NBC-DFW: Parker County "Locks-in" sex offenders on Halloween
- The Fix: Harris county warns sex offenders of Halloween restrictions
many experts say there is no evidence to suggest sex offenders attack children more on Oct. 31 than any other day and the restrictive laws amount to nothing more than a scare tactic.Long-time readers know Grits has been highly critical of such fear-mongering demagoguery for many years. Law enforcement pushes these phony memes and the media gobble them up like a six-year old gorging on candy corn. In reality, though, kids are more likely to be struck by lightning while trick or treating than abducted by a registered sex offender.
In fact, Dallas police say they have not witnessed an increase in crime, sexual or otherwise, on the spookiest day of the year. Halloween crime rates in the city dropped 12 percent from 2011 to 2012, said Maj. Robert Sherwin of the crimes against persons division.
Dallas police say there is no need for further restrictions beyond state laws, which require sex offenders who are on probation to keep their porch lights off during trick-or-treating hours. They also cannot answer their door to candy-seekers and are not allowed to decorate their homes.
Jill Levenson, an associate professor at Lynn University, said that the greatest risk to trick-or-treaters is getting hit by a car. Researchers at the Florida school determined that there was no change in sexual assaults during Halloween, or even in the weeks that followed, in comparison to the rest of the year.
“The laws restricting sex offenders make parents and communities feel safer, but there’s no proof that they reduce the risk of sexual abuse,” Levenson said. “Law enforcement should be directing their efforts towards crimes that are more commonly seen on Halloween, like vandalism.”
Drunk drivers are a far greater threat to child safety on Halloween than sex-offenders, but you don't see probation departments rounding up DWI probationers during the time kids are out walking the streets (though at least that would be responding to a legitimate risk).
On the bright side, I ran across one article giving hope that somebody, somewhere in government may be considering a more rational approach. The Beaumont Enterprise had a story titled, "Recently passed sex-offender law in Nederland on hold." Among other things, the ordinance would have "required sex offenders to post 'no candy' signs, maintained and issued by Nederland police, in front of their homes for Halloween on Oct. 30 and Oct. 31 from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m." The paper reported that, "City Manager Chris Duque said the city's attorney advised suspending the rule for 180 days to allow time to examine pending and recently resolved court cases in other cities that apply to sex offender residency restrictions."
Members of the media hyping these bogus threats should be ashamed of themselves.