There are more than 600 registered sex offenders in our five county region. Local parole officers are taking part in a statewide effort to make sure sex offenders aren’t opening their doors on Halloween night.
Makeilah Brisbon and Shameka McAllister’s kids won’t be trick or treating this year.
“I’m going to take them out to church because in Wilmington because there’s too much drama out here to be taking the kids anywhere,” said Makeilah Brisbon, a concerned parent.
“There’s too many people getting killed and snatched up and i don’t feel safe at all,” McAllister said.
Local parole officers are trying to keep kids safe on Halloween with an initiative called Operation Lights Out.
The idea is to keep trick or treaters from walking up to a sex offender’s house.
Registered sex offenders are instructed to keep their porch lights off on Halloween night.
The 70 sex offenders who are on parole in New Hanover and Pender County have additional instructions; in New Hanover County, they have to report to a supervised location during the peak trick or treating hours.
Parolees who live in Pender County can stay at home, but parole officers will be checking on them to make sure they are where they say they are, and their lights are off.
“It’s a signal to children when they see a porch lights on, at a house on Halloween that that’s someone who’s participating in Halloween activities and our sex offenders are being instructed to participate in any Halloween activities and they’re to keep their porch light off,” said Judicial District Manager Jean Walker.
Walker advises parents to go trick or treating with their kids, stay in safe neighborhoods, and like Makeilah Brisbon, consider participating in community Halloween activities instead of trick or treating.
“There’s so many community activities where they know everybody who’s there, and everything takes place in one location and you’re not going to a stranger’s house,” Walker said.
Another good thing parents can do is search the sex offender registry online before trick or treating, so you know which houses to avoid. You can do so at sexoffender.ncdoj.gov.