Police checks conducted ahead of Halloween trick-or-treating

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Halloween is in two days and the main concern on parents' minds is their children's safety during trick-or-treating.

There are no laws in Arkansas to prohibit sex offenders from keeping their porch lights on or giving out candy.

However, local law enforcement has some options to keep sex offenders on parole and probation off the streets.

"Smaller cities and areas are able to bring in their offenders to a police department or a set location and keep them there during those peak hours," parole officer Chad Jones, with the Arkansas Department of Community Correction, said.

However, that is not the case for larger counties, like Craighead and Poinsett.

"We're not able to do that so we depend on our local law enforcement to help us visit each home," Jones said.

The Arkansas Department of Community Correction is sending a letter to sex offenders on parole and probation requiring a strict curfew from 5:30 Halloween night to 6:00 the next morning.

"Make sure they're at home or work during those times if they're approved. From there, we can also make sure they don't have any decorations out, any lights on and any candy. Anything that can kind of represent that they're participating in the Halloween activities. We strictly forbid that," Jones said.

He said it is sometimes difficult for them to check every place.

"Big counties, lot of rural areas. So it's gonna be one of those things where we need a lot of help from local law enforcement," Jones said.

He said the department needs the community's help, too.

"If you see anything that worries you, you wanna go ahead and contact local law enforcement. We normally don't have any issues. None that are to note," Jones said.

But just in case, many parents in Region 8 are prepared.

"You have no clue that around the corner there might be a sex offender there. So I think there should always be adults with two or three children," Bay resident Toni Bennett said.

"They'll all stay together when we go walking," Jonesboro resident Amanda Jones said.

"Be careful and be safe," Jonesboro resident James Jones said.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved.