Do You Check the Sex Offender Registry Before Trick-or-Treating?
The costumes, the candy, the fun.
Most kids likely name Halloween as one of their favorite holidays of the year. But for parents, it can be scary for all the wrong reasons.
Parents worry about whether the candy their children collect has been tampered with. They worry about their safety among the cars in the streets.
But a lot of parents send their trick-or-treating kids up to the doors of people they don't even know. That's not safe at all!
If you're unable to take your children trick-or-treating only to homes of friends and family, it's important to learn all you can about your neighborhood. Some people choose to trick-or-treat in neighborhoods where they don't even live! It's even more important to research unfamiliar areas.
Search Michigan's Sex Offender Registry Before You Trick-or-Treat
One tool that parents can use to learn more about their neighborhoods is Michigan's Sex Offender Registry, accessible here. First, words of caution, directly from the state:
Extreme care should be exercised in using any information obtained from this website. Information on this site must not be used to unlawfully injure, harass, or commit a crime against any individual named in the registry or residing or working at any reported address. Any such action could result in civil or criminal penalties.
While this state-run website allows users to search directly for individual sex offenders, it also allows users to input an address and search for any and all registered sex offenders within a quarter-mile or half-mile, 1, 2 or 5 miles.
Once an address and parameters are selected, the website will then display a map with a circle around the desired area and icons representing any and all sex offenders within the perimeter.
Clicking on any icon will display the name, address and age of the sex offender. Users may click "View Details" for further information, including a detailed physical description of the person, any aliases by which they've been known, and other information - including the offense(s) for which they were convicted. Whether or not the offense involved a minor will be revealed here.
It's important to note that there are many reasons which may result in a person being forced to become a registered sex offender; a parent of a trick-or-treater may or may not feel that their child is danger by going to the homes of those convicted of certain offenses. For instance, it's not unheard of for a then-18-year-old man to have been convicted of a sex offense because of his consensual relationship with a 17-year-old girlfriend. However, the registry also reveals whether your neighborhood has residents who have been convicted on charges that may be of concern to parents of minors.
Be careful trick-or-treating this Halloween, and know before you go!