Halloween is a day for kids to run around and collect as much candy as
possible, but today children's safety has become increasingly a problem.
With sex offenders on a rise, it is a question whether people designated
to this list should be able to give candy to children who stop by their homes.
In Simi Valley, California, registered sex offenders have become a hot
topic of debate where the public is pushing for three identifications
sex offenders must meet this Halloween. The first is to post a sign stating
"No candy or treats at this residence." The second is to not
be able to have any outdoor lighting or signage pertaining to Halloween,
and the last request would be to have the sex offenders not being allowed
to hand out candy to children or have any outdoor lights on the night
The U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson ruled that all but the sign should
be enforced. "Plaintiffs have, however, made a clear showing that
they are likely to succeed on the merits of their facial challenge to
the sign posting requirement of the Halloween Ordinance and that they
are likely to suffer irreparable harm absent a temporary restraining order,"
Before the ruling, the attorney stated that it was in her opinion the signs
would bring people to identify who were sex offenders and entice them
to use vandalism or violence against them.
Although the signs have been turned down, the people are happy with the
provisions that were made. "We are pleased with the judge's decision,"
said Janice Bellucci, the representative of the 10 plaintiffs. "This
requirement, if enforced, would have branded registrants and placed them
as well as member of their families at significant risk of harm."
The Mayor of Simi Valley Bob Huber also had something to say about the
case, "I make no apologies for introducing this to our City Council.
The number one goal and priority of government is to protect its citizens,
particularly its most vulnerable– the innocent children."
Many safety precautions are being taken on this particular holiday. Last
year there were many compliance checks, where local sheriff officers made
at home visits to "check" on the offenders. "Halloween
is a time of fun for children, and we want to make sure that we are doing
what we can to ensure the safety of kids out trick or treating, and to
make sure the sex offenders within our jurisdiction understand that we
will be watching them." Sheriff Tom Dart of Cook County stated in 2011.
The fact is, only 2 out of every 1000 crimes on Halloween have to do with
sexual abuse. This data was given by psychologist Mark Chaffin after analyzing
national crime data in a 9 year increment(1997-2005) "Halloween appears
to be just another autumn day where rates of sex crimes against children
are concerned," states Chaffin.
Whether the provisions in Simi Valley decrease the likely hood or not of
sex offenders striking again is unclear, but the fact of the matter for
the 10 plaintiffs is that the less chance sex offenders have contact with
children, the better.