While children should continue to follow the modern adage of not taking candy from a stranger, a recent study shows that the concern over the supposed rise in sex crimes committed against children near Halloween is misplaced. Despite the statistical information, some states are still taking extra precautions by prohibiting sex offenders to participate in Halloween activities.
Some authorities in states like Georgia, Texas and California have decided to take additional measures against sex offenders on probation for the Halloween weekend. In Georgia, state agencies that supervise sexual offenders have issued restrictions for the Halloween weekend. Even though Georgia does not have a law that explicitly limits sex offenders from participating in Halloween, sex offenders on probation or parole are being asked to abstain from decorating their homes and to turn off outside lights. In addition, individuals on parole are also not allowed to answer their door over the weekend unless it is a police officer or emergency responder. If offenders do not comply with the weekend requests, they could face an arrest warrant for the violation of parole.
A national study published by the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers has found that sex offenders are no more of a threat on Halloween than on any other day of the year. The study’s researchers did not find an increase in child sex crimes around the holiday. The study concluded that the lack of an increase questions the wisdom of diverting resources to a problem that does not exist. The spokesperson for the Georgia Bureau of Investigations agrees and believes the risk is overplayed. He says that parents should be more concerned with traffic safety and is not aware of a trick-or-treater ever being abused by an offender in Georgia.
Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Georgia Restricts Sex Offenders on Halloween,” Andria Simmons, 10/26/10