Halloween is one of the most common days of the year that Missouri law enforcement checks to see if the state’s more than 18,000 sex offenders are following the law. Some of the offenders have additional restrictions they are required to follow on Halloween. Captain John Wheeler with the Cole County Sheriff’s Department in mid-Missouri tells Missourinet that officers want to lessen the possibility of those individuals re-offending on Halloween.
“Halloween is a fun time, but everyone just needs to be careful,” says Wheeler.
According to state law, the additional Halloween restrictions that some sex offenders must follow are:
1. Avoid all Halloween-related contact with children;
2. Remain inside his or her residence between the hours of 5 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. unless required to be elsewhere for just cause, including but not limited to employment or medical emergencies;
3. Post a sign at his or her residence stating, “No candy or treats at this residence”; and
4. Leave all outside residential lighting off during the evening hours after 5 p.m.
Some law enforcement agencies will have extra officers on duty on Halloween to conduct the compliance checks. Those who fail compliance checks could be ticketed or jailed.
“They have to go explain that to the judge because any person that does not comply with these restrictions is guilty of a class A misdemeanor,” says Wheeler. “We would write up the paperwork on the individuals and then send them up to the prosecutors office to file charges.”
Cole County has 140 registered sex offenders – 34 of which have the additional Halloween restrictions. Western Missouri’s Jackson County has the most registered sex offenders – about 2,200. Southwest Missouri’s Greene County has roughly 700.
Law enforcement does periodic compliance checks on sex offenders. Those individuals are required to register every three months or twice a year, depending on their conviction. Sex offenders are also restricted from living 1,000 feet from a daycare or school. They must provide information to law enforcement about their place of residence and work, registered vehicles, internet and phone use and a list of other things.
To search for sex offenders living in your area, click here.