Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Scare Tactics

Annual Halloween Scare Tactic on Sex Offenders Doesn't Improve Public Safety

Grits for Breakfast has posted this article about a Halloween “round up” of all the registered sex offenders to make sure they are not welcoming trick-or-treaters. They require the sex offenders to report to a specified locale between certain hours of the night to make sure they are all in the right place at the same time. If they fail to report there it could result in jail time needing to be served. This new rule has been justified by the extreme amount of children roaming the streets at night, therefore increasing their danger of abuse by a sex offender. Although this reasoning does make some sense, the author and I tend to disagree. The author points out numerous statistics that prove that 93% of sexual assaults on children happen with people they know as opposed to complete strangers. So statistically speaking, the risk of a sex offender attacking an unknown child is significantly lower. The author also points out all of the other problems that occur Halloween night which tend to be even more prevalent. Graffiti, vandalism, drunk driving, and other crimes are extremely heightened on Halloween night. Perhaps instead of patrolling the houses of sex offenders to make sure they’ve reported to their specified locale, the police should concentrate their efforts on keeping our streets safer and protecting our city. Also, another thing to realize is that almost all children go trick or treating with parental supervision, which would make it much more difficult for a sex offender to attack.


Janna said...

Berlin brings up some very good points in his commentary about these Halloween regulations enforced regarding local sex offenders. It is very interesting to consider the lengths the government will go to in order to assure that sex offenders of all different types are corralled to one area to be closely monitored. What about the sex offenders who have been innocent for ten, twenty, even thirty years? What about sex offenders who were convicted for less severe crimes? Can we really compare a sex offender whose victim is 17 to one whose victim is 5? Maybe it is a good idea to gather the sex offenders on a kid-friendly night such as Halloween, but it should have more stipulations on it. That way we would be concentrating our police's efforts on the other crimes that occur on Halloween night, which I agree with Berlin about. Berlin also makes a good point about parental supervision. How many children go trick or treating completely alone? Probably none! What kind of parent would send their child out into the night by themselves? It certainly would show poor parenting on their part. I think that maybe instead we should encourage closer child supervision.

Melissa said...

I have to say that I disagree with Berlin on the "round up" for sex offenders on Halloween night. This is a fairly new program that is only for those sex offenders still on probation. For those that did their jail time and/or their probation without any violations do not have to go downtown to the Adult Probation Office. I feel that probation should be taken very seriously, and police do not have time to check to make sure that these sex offenders have turned their porch lights out.
I agree that there are other things to worry about on Halloween night, because the kids are out and about, acting crazy. At least we know that they are a little safer. Recent sex offenders can spend those 4.5 hours reminding themselves about how they are a threat to young children, year after year, until probation is over. This is a small price to pay for the lives that are ruined by sex crimes. Greg Abbott, the Attorney General, is also very passionate about cracking down on sex offenders and does not tolerate anyone with probation violations.
I understand that we need to incorporate sex offenders into society a little better, but I am also disgusted when I look up the sex offenders in my neighborhood. I found that my next-door neighbor was convicted of having sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 34! He spent 3.5 years behind bars and is currently not on probation. The kids in my neighborhood (ages 4-12) came in groups to my door to "tick-or-treat" but did not have mom or dad around. Children are so innocent; we have to help to protect them by taking every possible precaution to ensure their safety.

Christi said...

Yes, it's true that the vast majority of child sexual abuse is inflicted by someone that the child knows. This is significantly due to the fact that the child trusts them. It is less likely for a child to walk up to a stranger and start up a conversation, than it is with someone that they have talked to before, and with their parents' permission. On a night such as Halloween there are a lot of kids on the streets and parents generally go with the younger children, often times there are middle-schoolers that go by themselves. Sex offenders will not discriminate, if they see an opportunity, chances are they will take it. Even if there are a few kids in a group, they aren't a match for any kind of ambush. And there are police patrolling the streets for drunk drivers as well. Any way that the police can make the streets safer on a night such as Halloween is a step closer peace of mind.

brya79 said...

I always have to laugh when it comes to any new law, restriction, or policy pertaining to registered sex offenders. While as a parent I dispise a man or women that would commit such crimes againts children it seems that "Think about the children" has become the battle cry for most parents these days. While I would agree that it is an inginous way to keep an eye on the less then favorable elements of our socity, where does it stop, or should it? How do you determain which offenders are the biggest threat or do we just throw all of them in a community like lepers. Sex offenders pray on children whose parents are often oblivious to the action or where abouts of their children. Why would a crimal engage a parent to get to a child when they can just find an unattended on. Parents need to be aware of threats to their children in there perticular naborhoods and adminaster the proper amount of supervision need to ensure the childrens safety.

A sex crime is one of the most hanus thing that some one could do to another, but some line needs to be drawn between limiting their access to children and not infringing on their rights. They have to live somewhere, and even they desirve to live in peace