‘Operation Halloween’ Helps to Protect Kids From Sex Offenders on Halloween
My son is three-years-old and while he's by no means a saint, John is one of the friendliest little kids, going out of his way to say hello to everyone, strangers included. My husband and I don't stop John from spreading kindness, but we do keep an extra close eye on him when he's being sociable.
When my husband and I got a notice informing us that a registered sex offender moved into a place just a couple blocks from where we live, we instantly felt a tightness in our chest and sat down to discuss all of the ways that we could make sure that our son would be kept safe.
My family doesn't live in a bubble. We go outside, we explore, we do things in our community and we don't let the ugliness of the world stop us from enjoying life and doing things. But, we've definitely become more aware of our surroundings, especially since becoming parents.
With Halloween just a few weeks away, you might be thinking ahead and concerned about the problem of sex offenders in area neighborhoods, especially on a night when a lot of little ones will be going house to house for treats. The answer to your concerns is something called "Operation Halloween." Operation Halloween was put into place by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and they're taking the safety of our kids very seriously. Sex offenders under the supervision of DCCS will be closely monitored on Halloween night to help make sure that kids and their parents are able to enjoy safe Halloween activities in our neighborhoods.
Under Operation Halloween, sex offender parolees must remain inside their home starting in the early afternoon on Halloween, or immediately following the end of their workday or upon completion of an approved community program. The must remain inside until 6 a.m. the day following Halloween. Parolees are not allowed to participate in any Halloween activities. They're also not allowed to wear any costume, mask or other disguises; and under no circumstances are they allowed to open the door to trick-or-treaters. Parolees are also required to answer their phones because their parole officers will be making calls throughout the night, as well as conducting unannounced curfew visits.
The state Division of Criminal Justice Services has also created a Facebook page to help parents access info about medium- and high-risk sex offenders who live among us. If you'd like to take a look at it, the Sex Offender Locator Application is accessible via the New York State Public Safety Facebook page.