DETROIT (WWJ) – Before you head out with your kids for Halloween trick or treating — you may want to know who’s in your neighborhood.
Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard recommends that parents check the state’s sex offender registry ahead of their walk around the block.
Bouchard says it’s an important part of Halloween preparations — to know the houses in which the offenders live.
“I think it’s a little worse because there’s a much greater degree of doing the kinds of things that pedophiles do anonymously via the internet – they actually create chat groups; ‘how to avoid police, how to find kids, how to share pictures’ how to do things — there was no such thing – so maybe some of that behavior was repressed back in the day because the only way to look for kids was to go sit outside a playground,” says Bouchard.
The registry has a list of the offenses as well as the addresses of those convicted.
Bouchard says with a click of the button you’ll be able to see what a sex offender has been convicted of … “so if it’s, what they call, a Romeo and Juliet kind of thing or whether it’s first degree forcible rape – the information then empowers you to know where that threat is.”
He says it’s happened on Halloween before: “Oh absolutely, we’ve seen in the past sex offenders put out candy and try to draw kids … to their house.”
Margarette Browne doesn’t have children but checked the registry and was surprised to find four registered sex offenders on her street.
“You know, you’ve got to give people a chance too I think — because, I guess, some people can be rehabilitated,” said Browne tentatively, “I would be careful, I would be cautious.”
You can find more information here: Search for Registered Sex Offenders In Your Area.