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Sex offenders have Halloween restrictions

Sex offenders have Halloween restrictions

Sex offenders have Halloween restrictions

While children enjoy trick-or-treating Thursday night, Bulloch County's registered sex offenders on probation or parole will be confined to a room in the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office.

Like many other counties in Georgia, Bulloch County law enforcement plans to keep an eye on sex offenders during the traditional kids' night out to help keep the holiday safe, Bulloch County sheriff's Chief Deputy Jared Akins said.

From 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Bulloch County residents convicted of sex crimes and who are still on probation or parole will spend that time in the courtroom at the sheriff's office, he said. They will be supervised by the Bulloch County Probation Department.

Akins said there are no specific activities planned, and the registered sex offenders will not be allowed to have tablets, laptop computers or mobile phones that can access the Internet. Many registered sex offender convictions include crimes where computers and the Internet were used to exploit children.

Most sex offenders on probation have terms of probation prohibiting them from being near places or events where children are known to gather, Akins said.

"This is one way to give parents peace of mind, and we try to work with (the probation department) to help them keep track of where the sex offenders are," he said.

Rounding up sex offenders on Halloween is not unusual.

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles will enforce "curfews or attending programming" this Halloween, state parole Field Operations Director David Morrison said.

Parole officers will assist local law enforcement conducting house checks to ensure sex offenders don't decorate to attract children, have outside lights turned on (an invitation to trick-or-treat on Halloween night) or hand out candy, he said.

In Georgia, there are 1,148 sex offenders under parole supervision. Between 80 and 90 registered sex offenders live in Bulloch County, and 50 to 60 are on probation, Akins said.

"Those will be required by terms of their probation to report to the jail (tonight) while kids and families enjoy traditional Halloween activities," he said.

The exercise is one of many ways the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office plans to help keep Halloween safe for everyone. Deputies, as well as Sheriff Lynn Anderson and Akins himself, will be on patrol, visiting neighborhoods and watching for suspicious activity while making their presence known.

Parents are encouraged to keep young children under close supervision, and even older children out trick-or-treating should observe safety rules, he said.

Statesboro police will also be out and about as children dressed in costumes haunt neighborhoods in search of treats, police Maj. Scott Brunson said.

He reminds those out Thursday night to "take flashlights and stay in well-lit areas. Stay with a group (no lone trick-or-treaters), don't wear loose costumes or masks that will obstruct your vision, and don't accept any unwrapped treats."

Statesboro police officers will patrol neighborhoods during the high-traffic event, watching for suspicious activity or persons.

Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.


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