(Memphis, TN) Parents find themselves having to take extra steps to avoid sex offenders on Halloween.
Those who are taking their children door to door can check the sex offender registry map before heading out: http://tnmap.state.tn.us/sor/
Sex offenders are supposed to keep their houses unlit and undecorated on Halloween. By law, they must stay inside and not invite trick-or-treaters in any way, including dressing in costume.
“We only go where the decorations are at. We don’t never go to houses we don’t know nothing about,” said Georgia Brown.
News Channel 3 went through one section of North Memphis to see if sex offenders were following the law.
In an area less than a square mile, 19 sex offenders popped up on the registry. Most kept their houses dark.
One couple at a registered address said the sex offender had moved out two weeks ago and that they were new residents.
A woman answering the door at another registered house said her son did not live there.
One father, Edgar Robinson, said he’d rather avoid houses altogether. He took his daughter to the Mud Island Halloween party.
“This is my little girl. She’s my world. So I’m not just taking her anywhere,” he said.
On Mud Island, hundreds of children dressed in costume could roam the haunted graveyard and collect candy in a way their parents knew would be safe.
Robinson said having his daughter accidentally go up to the wrong house is his worst fear.
“The sex offenders. That’s my biggest concern. I don’t want her going to somebody’s house. And you know, I watch Criminal Minds and stuff all the time,” he said.
Tracking sex offenders’ houses as children trick-or-treat requires updating a map on the TBI webpage, most likely on a smart phone. Or, parents could write down houses to avoid before they leave home.
So when Robinson sees children rushing door to door without a parent, he gets nervous.
“I seen some little babies like that, little kids too, walking around without a parent. That’s why I take [my daughter] everywhere with me on Halloween, because anything could happen.”