Issues Arise with Halloween and Sex Offenders
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 of Halloween.
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," stated Anderson.
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.