Sheriff's office posts 'no trick-or-treat' signs in front of registered sex offenders' homes for Halloween
As adults, we celebrate Halloween by donning skimpy costumes, getting wasted at a party, and perhaps doing the walk of shame home at two in the morning. But as a kid, Halloween was a more wholesome time. We got to wear real costumes of our favorite characters, be they superheroes, princesses or villains from slasher movies our parents didn't know we saw. Then, we went trick-or-treating, collecting as much candy and confections as we could before curfew.
The kids couldn't be happier, but Halloween can be a nerve-wracking time for parents. They worry about their children's safety after the sun sets, and if the treats they scored are dangerous. One police department issued a warning that drugs are being made to look like sweets ahead of Halloween. And just in case you're not anxious enough, picture this: What if your child goes trick-or-treating at the door of a registered sex offender?
In Butts County, Georgia, the Sheriff's Office came up with a striking way to prevent kids from trick-or-treating at registered sex offenders' homes. They placed signs in the yards reading "NO TRICK-OR-TREAT AT THIS ADDRESS!!" On Facebook, Sheriff Gary Long shared a photo of the sign and explained that Georgia has laws against registered sex offenders participating in the holiday.
"As Sheriff, there is nothing more important to me than the safety of your children. This Halloween, my office has placed signs in front of every registered sex offender's house to notify the public that it's a house to avoid. Georgia law forbids registered sex offenders from participating in Halloween, to include decorations on their property.
"With the Halloween on the square not taking place this year, I fully expect the neighborhoods to be very active with children trick-or-treating. Make sure to avoid houses which are marked with the attached posted signs in front of their residents. I hope you and your children have a safe and enjoyable Halloween. It is an honor and privilege to serve as your sheriff."
Long told CBS that his goal was to ensure children's safety, not to humiliate the 54 registered sex offenders in his county. "Let's face reality: We have a greater chance of children getting run over by a car [on Halloween] than being a victim of sexual assault by a repeat offender," said the sheriff. "But at the end of the day if, in fact, we had a child that fell victim to a sexual assault, especially by a convicted sex offender, I don't think I could sleep at night."
According to Long, most of the sex offenders "understood," although a few called the signs an "embarrassment." "At the end of the day, I don't care if they do like it or if they don't like it," said the sheriff. "My job us to ensure the safety of the children and the community and that's what I'm going to do." The signs will be removed the morning after Halloween.