As trick-or-treaters hit the streets Tuesday, local and state law enforcement agents paid special Halloween visits designed to make sure sex offenders on probation or parole complied with conditions prohibiting them from being in the presence of children.
The Sacramento County Probation Department conducted 69 searches and contacted 92 probationers Tuesday as part of its Operation Night Watch. Two of those contacted were arrested for outstanding felony warrants and three were arrested on new charges, including possession of methamphetamine, failing to register as a convicted sex offender, being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of marijuana for sale, according to a Probation Department news release.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation also checked on nearly 1,400 sex offenders statewide during its Operation Boo. Approximately 400 state parole agents and nearly 150 local law enforcement officers participated in the Halloween enforcement designed to protect young trick-or-treaters from sexual predators, according to a department news release.
Parole agents arrested more than 70 of the 1,377 sex-offender parolees contacted. New felony and misdemeanor charges were filed against nine of the sex-offender parolees, and pornography was confiscated from 10 of the parolees contacted on Halloween night, the news release said. Fifteen parolees in Northern California were found with weapons. Two parolees at large were also arrested.
The violations statewide included 36 parolees who were not in compliance with their conditions of parole, according to the news release.
Conditions for sex-offender parolees on Halloween include special curfew hours when they aren’t allowed to have their porch lights on. They are not allowed to have Halloween decorations on their home, offer trick-or-treat candy, or answer the door to anyone other than law enforcement or parole agents, the news release said. In some areas, transient sex offenders are ordered to report to selected centers where they are carefully watched during the trick-or-treating hours of 5 to 10 p.m.
The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation provides a guide for parents on its website, http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Parole/docs/Operation-Boo-Parents-Guide.pdf, offering links to information that can help parents protect children from sexual predators at Halloween and year-round.
The CDCR reports that approximately 80 percent of sexual assaults against children 12 and older are committed by someone they know. The parents guide lists several websites with age-appropriate tips for parents on how to talk to children about dangerous behaviors by any adult, not just strangers.