Police encourage ‘Trunk or Treat’ events to keep kids safe from Rockford’s 600 sex offenders

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — On Thursday, kids will be dressed up and heading out to get as much candy as they can haul on Halloween.

But, not everyone is allowed to open their doors to trick or treaters.

“We’ll have extra patrols out there in the neighborhoods,” said Lt. Anthony Miceli of the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office.

Lt. Miceli says one big concern is making sure kids don’t knock on the wrong door, especially those of registered sex offenders, who are not allowed to participate in trick or treating.

“Sex offenders are ordered by law to have their lights off, so the kids don’t go to those houses,” Miceli said. “And, I believe, at the schools, they go over that with all the kids, that if the lights aren’t on in that house, don’t go to that house.”

There are more than 600 sex offenders registered in Rockford, according to the Illinois State Police website. About 500 of those are guilty of crimes involving a child.

Police say it is impossible for police to be at every offender’s house on Halloween.

“We don’t check [them all], but they know when they come in to report, they’re advised of that again. They’re reminded,” Miceli said. “If you live in the neighborhood that long, you should know your neighbors and which doors to go to and which doors not to.”

Miceli says planned trick or treating events, like the Trunk or Treat event at Rock Valley College, are a good alternative for parents if they’re unsure about going door-to-door.

“The ‘trunk or treats’ are usually hosted by various VFW’s, church groups, and other organizations, so those are a little more controlled,” he said.

Sam Morgan, the Dean of Enrollment and Retention at RVC, said, “For, at least, from an employee standpoint, we’re getting a lot of individuals that do see it as a safe space.”

With Trunk or Treat events, like RVC’s, being held indoors, Morgan says it keeps kids safe from Mother Nature, as well.

“People coming out, obviously they’ll remove their coat as they’re entering this warm building, and I think that is definitely some incentive, because they can fully embellish their costumes, which is nice,” he said.

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