As parents gear up to take their children out and trick or treat for Halloween, the Newton County Sheriff Department is advising people to check the department’s website for sex offenders in the area.
“Right now in Newton County, we have 142 registered sex offenders,” said Ken Copeland, sheriff. “Sixteen of those have requirements during Halloween. The type of conviction that they have or the dates of their convictions require that they follow certain rules for Halloween. They can’t have any outside lights on at their residence, they have to post a sign that says, ‘no treats or candy,’ they have to be home from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. And we will have deputies that are assigned to go around and check those folks to make sure that they are in compliance. The two exceptions that they have is that if they are at work or due to some medical reason if they are at the hospital or something like that or are out of town.”
The sheriff’s department website is www.nc-so.org and then click on the “sex offenders registered in Newton County” link off to the left of the web page.
“It will show a picture of the sex offender, give their address, and the type of conviction that they had,” he added. “If I was a parent of the age of children that are going to be trick or treating, first of all, I would accompany those children, personally I would accompany them whereever they went. And certainly as a parent, I would want to be aware of it if I was going into a neighborhood that I didn’t actually know everybody or that different from my neighborhood, I would check the sex offender registry.”
The sheriff’s department has done these Halloween checks in the past, the sheriff noted.
“Most of the required sex offenders are usually in compliance on this,” Copeland said. “But we want to check to make sure.”
Asked what happens if they are not in compliance, the sheriff said, “that is a violation and they can arrested for that violation.”
Copeland added some more Halloween safety tips for trick or treaters.
“Certainly, traffic is a problem, there will be a lot of little kids out here, all of the drivers need to watch out for the children, slow down,” he said. “To the parents, again they need to accompany their kids when they go trick or treating.”