While Halloween is filled with fake psychos, the walking dead, don't forget killer clowns---that's not the mask police will be on the lookout for this halloween. It's sex offenders that could be lurking behind them. "Just to think about them in general, I mean it makes me sick....people in this world, and it's becoming more and more common," says local resident Mari Hall.
Police are warning parents that sexual predators could be in their neighborhood. But now new laws warn them to stay away from your kids. "It's always a concern with sex offenders," says Winnbago County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Dominic Iasparro. "It's something that we monitor very closely, there are very stringent laws that have been put into place."
Laws already forbid child sex offenders to dress up on Christmas or Easter. Now, they also ban any Halloween activities. Iasparro says, "That includes handing out candy to children, or being present with the children as they are out trick or treating."
What it doesn't include is sex offender parents of young trick or treaters, they can still take kids out, but can't interact with other kids. Deputy Chief Iasparro says parents can check the registry online to steer clear of predator homes. Eyewitness News did just that and found more than 100 sex offenders in our area,
Police will be out on heavy patrol Thursday night, but Mari Hall wants to see more. "They could go to houses, make sure they're not participating, knock on doors to check."
Meanwhile, grandmother Melanie Harris will be on her own patrol, monitoring her children closely. "You wear light clothes, you pay attention, you look around ... whatever is necessary to protect your children." Since police can't be everywhere, that may be the best advice.
Deputy Chief Iasparro says there has not been any cases of sexual predators targeting children in the area in recent years, but they are not taking the holiday lightly, and plan to have extra officers out in the streets.