Modern hazards: Halloween and the sex offender registry

17 Oct

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Moi came across this report from Steve Kiggins of Q13 News, Police: Check your neighborhood for sex offenders on Halloween:

Halloween is fast approaching and police are sounding the alarm, asking if parents really know their neighbors.
Police in Snohomish County said it’s a good idea to check the sex offender registry before you take your kids out for trick-or-treating.
There are 1,700 registered sex offenders in Snohomish County, and at least a dozen in the neighborhood near Rockefeller Avenue and 36th Street. Most parents said they don’t check to see if any of those sex offenders are on their trick-or-treat route.
Lisa Ellefsen and her 3-year-old daughter Reigna are ready for Halloween.
Their Everett neighborhood lists several sex offenders close by, so they usually go trick-or-treating at grandma’s in Arlington. That’s until Ellefsen checked the sex offender registry near grandma’s house.
“That’s Arlington?” Ellefsen exclaimed when she checked the list. She thought leaving Everett would be a safer bet for Halloween, but Arlington has its share of sex offenders.
“It freaks me out,” she said. “You’ve got to watch your kids, I guess. You can’t hide from the world.”
Pumpkins and cobwebs are already up in some Everett yards. Surprisingly, some sex offenders are allowed to put up Halloween decorations — it all depends on the conditions of their release from jail.
“Look at those conditions of that release,” Shari Ireton with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said. “Of course, if that person is violating one of those conditions, you definitely want to call 911.”
That’s why police want parents to double-check the registry for their neighborhoods.
“The more informed someone is about what’s going on in their neighborhood or community, that’s the surest form of crime prevention,” Ireton said.
Search your county’s sex offender registry at the links below:

The world has sure changed from what moi knew as a kid. Here is the National Sex Offender Registry Watchdog

Parents for Megan’s Law and the Crime Victim Center are offering the following tips:

Be aware! There are over 614,000 registered sex offenders in the United States. Your child could be knocking on the door of a convicted sex offender. Use the following Halloween Safety Tips to help protect our most vulnerable.

1. ALWAYS check for registered offenders in your neighborhood.
2.NEVER allow children or teens to Trick or Treat alone.
3.ALWAYS accompany young children to the doors of homes they approach.
4.NEVER allow kids to enter a home without permission from a parent.
5.NEVER allow children to approach any vehicle unless they know the owner.
6.ALWAYS have children carry a flashlight or glow stick.
7.NEVER approach a house that is not well lit.
8.ALWAYS scream, kick and punch anyone who tries to grab or force kids to go with them.
9.NEVER consume unwrapped prepackaged treats.
10.ALWAYS carefully inspect treats for open wrappers.
Call us for your free copy of Halloween Safety Tips!
Contact Us
1-(888) ASK-PFML or 1-(631)689-2672
Email us at

New! 24 Hour Megan’s Law and Sex Offender Tips Hotline
for Suffolk County New York Residents
Call 1-(855) PFML TIP

If you would like to report a sex offender in violation (click here) .

The sex offender hazard really brings into focus what Facebook, Twitter, and other social media lack. It is a sense of community and knowing who your neighbors are.

Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz wrote in the 2012 Chicago Tribune article, Why it’s worth getting to know your neighbors: Some neighborly advice on reaching out and making connections:

Some 28 percent of us know none of our neighbors’ names, reports a 2010 Pew survey; it’s particularly pervasive among younger and lower-income people.
“The biggest barrier is just a perception that we should not be involved,” said Keith Hampton, associate professor of communications at Rutgers University. “We fear having people intrude in our lives, but we also have to recognize … (the) risk in not knowing the people around you.”
Knowing your neighbors can help defuse conflicts before they turn ugly.
“If someone leaves their dog out too late barking, then that’s Joe — it’s not some random guy you hate,” said Bob Borzotta, founder of, a chat room for people embroiled in neighbor disputes.
Though technology is partly responsible for making neighbors less relevant (it enables people get social support from afar), it also is helping revive neighbor ties. Several social networking sites are dedicated to connecting neighbors; Hampton’s research shows that people who use those technologies are more likely to talk to their neighbors in person and on the phone than those who don’t.
One such site is, which has more than 1,900 neighborhoods, said co-founder Nirav Tolia. Its purpose is not social but to solve practical problems, like finding a lost dog or organizing a block party. The majority of posts are either recommendation requests (someone seeking a good plumber) or classifieds (trying to sell a couch). There’s also an “urgent alerts” feature that sends an emergency note via text message; a neighborhood in Texas used it recently to alert people to tornadoes.
Jon Elliott, 28, joined the Nextdoor group for his neighborhood in Lancaster, Pa., in hopes of creating a sense of community because, he said, “it’s hard to go up to someone walking their dog and just start a conversation.”
The site proved helpful when a posting about a car break-in spurred a slew of neighbors to respond that their cars also had been broken into, Elliott, said. But neighbors also now wave to each other in the street and call one another by their names, he added.
That’s not to say neighbors should become best friends. It’s the weak ties that make a happy neighborhood, Hampton said, so just make it a point to say hello or offer to collect someone’s newspapers if they’re going out of town.
Respecting boundaries is vital, Borzotta added. Introducing yourself if you’re new to the neighborhood, or welcoming a neighbor who has just moved in, is a good way to establish contact, he said. (Cookies? Unnecessary.)

In a world where many are wired, but few are connected, a sense of community is one defense against predators whom roam all year, not just at Halloween.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr.

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