Keep trick-or-treaters safe by checking for sex offenders
Detailed map on sheriff’s website
Children all across the parish will be dressed up in their scariest outfits on Monday night as they go door-to-door to collect bags of candy. But while the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office said Halloween is typically safe, there are still things both parents and kids need to watch out for besides ghouls and goblins.
There are currently 80 registered sex offenders residing in St. Charles and Sheriff Greg Champagne said parents can find out where each one lives by checking his office’s Web site.
“We have compliance checks for sex offenders throughout the year so we are up to date and parents have nothing to fear,” Champagne said. “But if parents want to make sure to avoid homes where a sex offender lives they can go online and check our map.”
To see a detailed list of all sex offenders, visit www.stcharlessheriff.org and click on the sex offenders tab on the left side of the page. Champagne said that it is against the law for a sex offender to give out candy on Halloween and that residents should notify his office if they see that occur.
Sgt. Dwayne LaGrange, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said kids should trick-or-treat at a reasonable time and should always be accompanied by adults. They should also try to wear reflective material or have flash lights with extra batteries.
“That way traffic traveling through the neighborhoods can see both the kids and their parents,” LaGrange said. “We also ask that residents who are driving through the neighborhoods go slow and be on the look out for trick-or-treaters.”
The Sheriff’s Office will have extra patrols on call parishwide to make sure trick-or-treaters are kept safe.
Children should also never be allowed to walk up to a home by themselves, LaGrange said, and parents should only choose homes that they are familiar with.
Homeowners who plan on handing out candy should also take precautions.
“If you have an aggressive pet, you need to make sure they are placed in a secluded, locked away area,” LaGrange said. “Also make sure that the exterior of your home does not have any areas that may cause a tripping hazard.”
Outdoor lights should be checked to make sure they work properly and wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
Teens who are trick or treating by themselves should also wait until they get home to eat their candy and should never talk to strangers, LaGrange said.
“It’s very important for children and teens to avoid strangers and let their parents inspect their candy,” he said.
While hundreds of trick-or-treaters have the potential to cause a lot of problems on Halloween, LaGrange says it hasn’t been much of a hassle in the past.
“Kids are going to be kids and people are going to put on costumes and do things they wouldn’t normally do, but we haven’t had any serious problems in the past,” he said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics also warns parents that children should wear non-toxic makeup or decorative hats instead of masks, because masks can limit or block eyesight. Children and their escorts should also carry flashlights and cell phones and remain on well-lit streets. Also, groups of trick-or-treaters should never assume the right of way because motorist may have trouble seeing them.
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