AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – Local authorities are keeping a close eye on sex offenders this Halloween.
South Carolina law enforcement agencies have strict policies offenders must follow. Aiken County requires sex offenders to report to the Probation Parole and Pardon Services Office when the trick-or-treaters are out.
There are currently 30 actively supervised sex offenders in Aiken County and with that many people it’s just easier on officers to have everyone in one place.
This keeps the community safe as well as sex offenders from being wrongfully accused of something because they’ll be supervised by officers all evening.
Double, double, toil and no trouble is how Probation Parole and Pardon Services Agent Ashley Finch expects All Hallows’ Eve to go. Finch says his department requires all active registered sex offenders, to come there, during the county-wide curfew from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Halloween night.
However, he says time passes quickly for people who have to spend the evening at the Probation Parole and Pardon Services Office.
“We are able to do our updates with photos, we have to do annual photos for all the sex offenders,” Finch told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “We do drug testing. We’ve had counseling in the past.”
The central location supervision ensures a scary costume and a black cat is the spookiest thing Aiken County residents will see that night.
Still, sex offenders that are not actively being supervised are required to keep their front porch lights off and can’t partake in any activities.
“I think there’s over 450 sex offender contacts made throughout the evening state-wide and only 2 violations [last year]. So the odds were pretty good, for the expectations, for what they have to do in being here or being at their home with the lights off.” Finch said.
Therapist and parent Ashley Clark says her trick-or-treater is at that age where she doesn’t want mom to come along. So it’s reliving to know she won’t have to worry about sex offenders in her area.
“I think it’s a great idea. It really is! It helps parents feel safe, especially my daughter. She’s a teenager,” Clark said. “She wants to go with her friends. She doesn’t want mom to always be right there. So, I feel a little bit safer letting her go house to house.”
If you would like to see if there are any sex offenders living in your neighborhood, click here. The CDC is warning all trick-or-treaters to stay safe while collecting candy next week, by following some simple safety tips:
- Make all costumes accessories short and soft
- Avoid walking alone while going door-to-door
- If possible, fasten reflective tape to kids’ attire so drivers can see them from the road
- Examine all treats t detect any tampering with wrappers
For more Halloween safety tips, click here.