When I was trick or treating as a child, I never worried about what was on the other side of the door I was knocking on. This could of course be attributed to the fact that as a child all I was thinking about was what kind of candy I was about to get, or it was because this was over 20 years ago. Today parents have to be ever vigilant when it comes to strangers and their children.
In Mecklenburg County police have “Operation WatchDog”, which is an annual effort to check on registered sex offenders. There are over 950 registered sex offenders in Mecklenburg County, and officers will be visit over 700 of them to verify their addresses (with the other over 200 in jail). Sheriff Chipp Bailey told the Charlotte Observer that this is part of an effort to keep children safe. “I consider this a very, very important public safety effort,” Bailey said. “If they’re not where they’re supposed to be, we’ll purse them aggressively.”
Under NC state law, certain offenders must be listed in the NC sex offender registry. You can access the NC registry and national registry through the NC Department of Justice. At the same site you can sign up for either e-mail or telephone alerts, which is a year round service. In addition you can download a registry app for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, to keep in touch in real time as you are out. The app was developed by the department’s IT department and uses the SBI Registry information as submitted by county sheriffs.
Tips for Trick-or-treaters from the Attorney General Roy Cooper:
-Stick to neighborhoods you know and only visit homes that are well-lit
-A parent should accompany children, and make sure older children go in groups (with a curfew)
-Plan the route you kids will take and tell them how you expect them to behave
-Do not let your children go into homes without your permission
-Check the sex offender registry before you leave home
-Carry a flashlight with working batteries
-Make sure your child knows your home number and phone number in case of emergency
-Have children walk and stick to sidewalks to avoid unseen dangers
The Charlotte Holidays Examiner is your local resource for all things holiday going on in the Queen city. Do you want to read more? Click the ‘Subscribe’ button under my name to receive e-mail alerts when I publish new articles. You can also follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/laurendomm or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.