On all Hallow’s Eve, the streets will be filled with little ghosts, ghouls and goblins in search of their sweet treats. But behind some doors in your neighborhoods could be a dangerous trick, and you want to make sure your children have the safest Halloween possible.
“You may think that you know everyone who lives in your neighborhood, but you could live near a registered sex offender,” says Thomas Bumgardner, an attorney with the Law office of Thomas D. Bumgardner, PLLC. “What makes things even scarier than a ghost is that it’s legal in North Carolina for some registered sex offenders to hand out candy to little kids.”
The only way a registered sex offender can be stopped is if they are under a court order prohibiting contact with children.
“Thankfully, there are ways to ensure your child is safe while knocking on doors this Halloween,” explains Bumgardner.
Do Your Homework
There are 994 registered sex offenders in Mecklenburg County, according to the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry. You can specifically search your address and the streets where your children will be trick-or-treating to see if any registered sex offenders live there. This can help you map out your child’s route and make sure they avoid any questionable houses.
There’s An App For That
The U.S. Justice Department’s National Sex Offender Public Website has an app that you can download on your smartphone. It alerts you to registered sex offenders that live a quarter of a mile, half a mile and one mile away from you.
The app pinpoints your exact location and marks homes that are resided by a sex offender. If you are letting your child trick-or-treat alone this year, this would be the perfect tool for them to have in the palm of their hands so they can make sure the home they’re about to knock on is safe.
Neighbors Banding Together
If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to sign up for your neighborhood’s NextDoor message board.
This social network is tied specifically to your neighborhood, so you won’t get information about what’s happening in Ballantyne if you live in the SouthPark area. Neighbors keep each other informed about things happening in the neighborhood and could be a good resource ahead of Halloween night.
Public agencies like the City of Charlotte and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department will also post on NextDoor to let you know what’s being done to keep you and your family safe.
Deputies on Duty
Every year, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office conducts an operation where they verify the addresses of registered sex offenders. This is done the week before Halloween so all information on a sex offenders’ whereabouts is up-to-date before you and your little one head out for trick-or-treating.
South Carolina is much stricter when it comes to registered sex offenders and Halloween. The state law requires that all sex offenders follow a curfew and that they must be in their homes between 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. They are also not allowed to pass out candy.
Here at the Law Office of Thomas D. Bumgardner, PLLC, we hope your fairy princess or superhero has a safe and fun Halloween.
If you are in need of an attorney that will put you and your loved ones first, you can contact us online or call us at 704-887-4981. Families and individuals come to our law office for personal injury protection, separation and divorce, child custody and support, wrongful death, car and truck accidents, nursing home abuse and traffic-related offenses.