In an effort to keep children safe while trick-or-treating this Halloween, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections plans to make random home visits to sex offenders statewide on October 31.
There are more than 65,000 offenders living in communities across the state, according to the DOC.
Offenders have Halloween-specific restrictions each year in Wisconsin. They are not allowed to:
- Have any Halloween decorations inside or outside
- Hand out candy or participating in trick-or-treat activities
- Wear a Halloween costume
- Turn on porch lights during trick-or-treating hours
Last year, DOC Probation and Parole Agents made more than 2,100 home visits and arrested 29 sex offenders for alleged violations.
Wisconsin residents can find sex offenders in their area by visiting the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry Website. You can either search for a specific name or look for all offenders in your neighborhood.
The DOC has also offered other tips for trick-or-treating safety. Here's what they suggest:
- Children should always be with a parent or trusted adult.
- Stay on well-lit streets and stick to neighborhoods you know.
- Only stop at homes with a lit porch light.
- Never enter a home or car for candy.
- Carry a cell phone.
- Call 911 if you see anything suspicious.
- Children should yell "No!" and try to run away if a stranger tries to talk to them.
- Have a responsible adult check treats before children eat them.
The DOC also suggests that parents sit down with their children to talk about these safety tips and come up with a strategy in case families get separated.
If you think a registered sex offender is participating in Halloween activities in your area, you can report the information through the SAFE tip phone hotline at 1-877-234-0085.