While children enjoy Halloween trick-or-treating Friday evening, registered sex offenders on probation or parole in Bulloch County will be spending a few hours at the Bulloch County Jail.
They won't be behind bars, but will be supervised by state probation and parole officers and Bulloch County sheriff's deputies between 6 and 9 p.m. in the courtroom at the jail, said Bulloch County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Jared Akins.
The Statesboro Police Department has designated "official" trick-or-treating hours as 6-8 p.m. Friday. The county doesn't designate official hours.
Only the registered, convicted sex offenders living in the county who are on probation or parole can be compelled by law to report to the jail, Akins said.
The State Board of Pardons and Paroles announced it will step up supervision of sex offenders who are under parole supervision and will not allow them to participate in Halloween-related events - something the agency does every year, according to a news release issued Wednesday.
Dusk-to-dawn curfews will be in place for sex offenders on parole and compliance sweeps, in which officers visit the homes of sex offenders, will be conducted throughout Friday evening across the state, the news release says.
Sex offenders on parole must keep outside lights turned off and are prohibited from answering the door, except for law enforcement. Halloween decorations outside the home are also prohibited, the agency says.
"These offenders are made very aware that they are to do nothing that would draw attention to themselves and that they know they cannot participate in Halloween at all," said Michael Nail, the executive director of parole.
To find out whether any registered sex offenders live in your neighborhood, visit www.BullochSheriff.com and click on the "Information" button, then choose the "sex offenders registry" from the menu offered. For a list of sex offenders across Georgia, visit http://gbi.georgia.gov/georgia-sex-offender-registry.
The sites contains photos, as well as information about the offender's crimes and a current address.
According to the Bulloch County site, there are more than 100 registered, convicted sex offenders considered Bulloch County residents, although some are currently incarcerated. The records on the website show there are 26 offenders convicted of child molestation (four of which were aggravated child molestation charges), 31 men and one woman convicted of statutory rape (sex with a person under age of consent, regardless of whether the contact was consensual), seven men convicted of rape and about 40 offenders convicted of other sexual crimes.
Neighboring Effingham County is doing something similar to Bulloch County — rounding up all sex offenders who are on probation and requiring them to report to the Effingham County Jail from 6-9 p.m. Friday.
Effingham County sheriff's spokesman Detective David Ehsanipoor said the agency is expecting about 50 sex offenders to report.
"This gives parents peace of mind, and sex offenders cannot be accused of something they are not doing if they are at our office," Ehsanipoor said. "If there is a temptation for them to do something to someone, they are at our office and that temptation is not there."
Akins said deputies will be patrolling neighborhoods and investigating any reports of suspicious behavior by anyone.
Convicted sex offenders not on parole or probation cannot be legally required to report to the jail during trick-or-treating, he said. However, parents armed with information about neighborhood sex offenders may use that information to select which houses they allow children to visit.
Anyone with questions or concerns about a particular registered sex offender in Bulloch County may contact Ami Howell at (912) 764-8888. In case of an emergency or a suspicious incident occurring Halloween night, concerned citizens may call that number and ask for dispatch, Akins said. An investigator on call will address the concerns.
Also, questions may be asked via the sex offender registry page below the photos and information about the offenders.
This report contains information from the Effingham Herald.
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.