Some police and sheriff’s officers put extra officers on the streets for trick-or-treat Wednesday.
There is no blanket state law that forbids sex offenders from participating in Halloween, however there are restrictions for some on parole.
Ohio laws prevent paroled sex offenders from living near schools and in some cases, they must register their addresses and places of employment for life.
The City of Westerville gave officers an updated list of sex offenders in the area this year. The goal was to make officers more aware of the potential dangers as children go door-to-door.
Parent Dominique Washington said that she knows where every sex offender is around her home. She has the posters to prove it.
“I have got to be aware of it,” Washington said. “I’ve got four kids, three girls, I have to be aware of.”
According to the state, a registered sex offender lives just a few doors down from her.
Because the person is on parole, the state mandates that he not have any Halloween decorations, cannot pass out candy or have his porch light on during trick-or-treat.
“That’s a good idea,” Washington said.
Ohio sex offenders on parole who are caught celebrating the holiday could be thrown back in prison for violating parole.
It’s part of a longstanding campaign called Night Out, Lights Out.
According to the state parole authority, high-risk sex offenders were slated to receive surprise checks on Wednesday night by their parole officers to make sure they were complying with Halloween provisions.
But a group that calls for reform in sex offender laws said that Ohio’s rules provide a false sense of security and wants laws like this repealed.
“(There is) no research whatsoever that indicates residency restrictions or these types of ridiculous provisions about Halloween have any effect on the safety of children,” said Mike Jackson, of the Adult Parole Authority.
Washington said that the more she knows about sex offenders in her neighborhood, the safer her children are.
“Here is not a good safe place to go trick-or-treating, especially for these kids,” Washington said.
There are no pending laws to change Ohio’s laws regarding sex offenders and Halloween.
State officials said that in the 10 years it has had the Halloween provision, they have not found any sex offenders in violation.
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