The Texas Department of Public Safety has conveniently compiled a map so parents can see where registered sex offenders live in your area. According to data compiled by OffenderWatch, there are nearly a million registered sex offenders in the U.S.
In Texas, there are about 99,000 registered offenders. A considerable amount of those offenders were convicted of crimes against children. You can check out the offender registry here.
Law enforcement have also suggested parents follow a number of tips to ensure complete safety.
- Map your trick-or-treat route before heading out, and be sure to avoid those houses.
- Coordinate with other parents and travel as a group. There should be at least one adult to help supervise.
- Don't go to a neighborhood that you're not familiar with (even if they have better candy on the North Side).
- Never go into a home – that goes for you and the kiddos.
- Don't go to a home that doesn't have a porch light on.
- Don't let anyone wear a costume with a fake gun, knife or weapon that can be mistaken for the actual thing.
- Wear something with a light reflector so drivers can see you while you're walking. Flashlights or glow-lights are also good alternatives.
- Remember that registered sex offenders are not prohibited from decorating their home or handing out candy, which is all the more reason to avoid these houses.