Every year around Halloween time, Patch, the news website specializing in local coverage around the country, publishes maps that show where sex offenders live. Patch claims this is some kind of public service, even though a thorough study of 67,000 cases of child molestation found zero increase in sex crimes against children on Halloween.
The vast majority of crimes against children are not committed by strangers, but by people close to the kids. Stranger danger is actually pointing worried parents in the wrong direction.
What’s more, sex offenders are not especially likely to go after kids on Halloween. Contrary to popular belief, “across the board the majority of sexual offenders do not go on to reoffend,” says Jill Levenson, a professor of social work who has studied Halloween crimes.