Candy and costumes will consume the Tri-State this Halloween, often with mom and dad keeping a close watch. But do you know whose door your kids are knocking on?
Law enforcement across the country is checking on registered sex offenders this time of year. Within a 1-mile radius of Covert and Weinbach in Evansville’s central city, there are 51 people on the registry.
Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Detective, Mike Robinson heads the sex offender registry. “They’ve obviously done pretty bad things to be on the registry and they’ve also probably done pretty bad things to have all these different stipulations they have to follow,” says Robinson.
There are 389 registered sex offenders living in Vanderburgh County. Robinson’s job is to make sure they’re all following the rules.
“We do it all year round,” Robinson says, “we check the authenticity of the registry, what these people are telling us.”
Around Halloween his job gets a little busier. Together with federal officers, he patrols the county to make sure registrants don’t open the door for trick-or-treaters.
There is no state law requiring it, but sex offenders on parole or probation often have the restriction through Vanderburgh County or Federal court. They will often have a pink sign on the front door.
But the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws thinks there’s an irrational fear of sex offenders this time of year. The group says there is no greater risk on October 31 than on any other day of the year.
Det. Robinson agrees, but believes it’s better to play it safe. “The propensity of kid’s interaction with a registrant does exist for obvious reasons.”
NARSOL believes there’s a far greater fear lurking in the night, and it comes when kids start thinking about candy instead of cars.
“They get caught up in the moment and they’re not paying attention to where they’re at,” Robinson adds. “They might not be wearing the most safety-conscious clothing.”
(This story was originally published October 30, 2017)