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Skenazy, NARSOL tell Patch, “Quit printing those maps!”

By Lenore Skenazy . . . 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.

In other words, Patch publishes a list of people who have served their time and are extremely unlikely to offend again, in order to make parents terrified that the people at those addresses are out to hurt their kids.

This year is no exception. Here’s a typical Patch piece, headlined: “Fairfield 2018 Sex Offender Addresses To Be Aware Of On Halloween.” The article continues: “Find out where the registered sex offenders are living in Fairfield before the kids go out trick-or-treating. … You may want to avoid trick-or-treating at these houses and apartments on Halloween, or merely be aware of who’s living in your neighborhood during the rest of the year.”

Why? Why find this out, considering the facts above?

Last year, the National Association for Rational Sex Offense Laws had had enough with this approach and wrote a letter to Patch imploring the company to stop publicizing sex offenders’ addresses. The letter, which Patch ran, suggested printing a map of all the places children have been harmed or abducted on Halloween by someone on the registry over the past 20 years. “Such a map would display no dots because exhaustive research has turned up not so much as a single case,” wrote NARSOL’s board.

Read the full piece here at Reason.com

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Dustin 1 week, 4 days ago.

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  • #47843 Reply

    Donna

    For those of us who know the truth, this type of thing on Halloween is just absurd. I feel sorry for the parents who do take this seriously and go out with their children on Halloween with erroneous information in tow. Its very sad for those parents and their little kids who will learn the fear from them. Patch should get letters from some of these parents claiming unfounded fear mongering.

  • #47846 Reply

    Janet Marriott

    The “Map” is almost a joke in our town. When you enter our zip code (a neighborhood near the middle of town where SO’s are ‘allowed’ to live) there are so many balloons you can hardly see the map. Clustering us together like this certainly makes it easier on the “Halloween Police” when they knock on doors! Just park anywhere. But then we live in a poor part of town and the “tough on crime” boys are rich enough to live in respectable neighborhoods (next to folks like Justice Kavanaugh. LOL

  • #47849 Reply

    Glen

    Awesome!!! Where on this map are the murderers? The dui drivers? The drug dealers? Or, a police station in case we need to find safety? Oh? Nevermind…I thought this was for childeren’s safety and the public’s protection. My bad…

  • #47850 Reply

    carl

    The article from the Warminster PA patch (along with several townships in different counties) goes on to say “Registered sex offenders are prohibited from passing out candy on Halloween. They may not appear in a Halloween costume or as another child-centered holiday character, such as Santa and the Easter Bunny, in public.” I have been looking for a way to tact the Patch and ask what the specific State Law or County/Township ordnance is that says this. As far as I know there is no such law (but they may have passed one at 2 am for all i know). Good thing is i will be at work Halliween night.

  • #47864 Reply

    FinallyOffTheReg

    As a person who used to be on the Patch list, every time around this year I was terrified because I knew the list was coming out. In fact, I could notice an uptick in “dirty looks” and so on from folks around the downtown area in my place where I live. And now that I am no longer on the Reg in my State (did my 10 years on it)but the articles from previous Patch years on Halloween still remain as links searchable on Google and Bing.

    The Patch refuses to remove the links despite my petitions and there is no way to call someone at The Patch. I wrote emails to the owners of The Patch who own it nationally, and no response. I wrote the local editor and he gave me a inbox address to send my request to, but there is no feedback mechanism and no one to contact at that “department”.

    I have some pretty choice words for these folks at The Patch, but I am sure I would be placed in cuffs if I said them. This LIST does nothing but bring a sense of fear to the RC’s on it and contributes to the incorrect public view of us as “Ghouls” and Predators.

    Screw The Patch-and that’s the most calm way I can say it.

  • #47867 Reply

    B. Webb

    I agree where is the map of the Opioid dealers? The drug epidemic is taking over our nation where is that map?

  • #47868 Reply

    Tammie Leigh Lawson

    This is one of the most hideous claims ever! I don’t know of one RSO who has taken a child during Halloween. These maps are ridiculously silly! Its a waste of time and money! There is no evidence that suggesting that a map creates safety for children! I just wonder how many drug dealers, murders, thiefs, child abusers will be handing out candy that night or roaming the streets? My grandsons werw brutally beaten by a man with no record on Halloween last year. One child was in a head trauma hospital for head injuries caused by the handa of a child abuser! What makes society safe? He isn’t on a registry? Every 10 seconds a child is abused physically and we worry about RSOs who have the lowest recidivism rate of any crime.

  • #47869 Reply

    Kenny G.

    So what’s funny is we had a “newspaper” here in nc called the slammer that did the same thing except for publish different sex offenders in its pages every week. I wrote then an email and explained to them by publishing the registry in their paper they were making profit off the registry and therefore in violation of law. They sold the papers at 2 dollars a pop. Shortly thereafter, they stopped printing it…. may want to look into something like that.

  • #47870 Reply

    Chris

    Thank you, NARSOL, for writing that superb letter to Patch. You summed it up better than I could have. Thanks for fighting the good fight on behalf of all of us.

  • #47871 Reply

    Mom

    My former sister in law was one of those who looked at the S.O. maps and she would yell profanity and things at that house as she passed by-when she told me I asked her to do me a favor, and no longer do this and then told her how my son -(her nephew) was at that time awaiting his fate by the justice system.
    Once you know someone or are directly involved, the peaceful ignorant bliss of just how the system works will melt away.
    Nobody deserves such blatant ostracism. Let them be.

  • #47884 Reply

    TONY

    Here again… we witness the stupid saga continue. If you want to protect people on Halloween, then identify people who drink and drive. Identify common crimes that occur on Halloween. This is not the 1 day out of the year “sex offenders” choose to commit their crimes. Are we as a people really this ignorant. Interestingly enough, on the state level, most registries strictly prohibit the use of the registry to harass or create problems on the registry with civil and criminal penalty for doing so. What I don’t understand is why the sex offenders or at least the people on the registry not have this publication charged for harassment, and communicating threats and causing criminal activity for causing harm to the people on the registry. I mean, is it any different to say or insinuate that everyone on the registry is out to scoop up your kid. IF (emphasis added) NARSOL would start taking people to court for using the registry to harass people, and create a class action for all on the registry, and sue stupid people for the harm they invoke from the registry, then you would see this stuff stopped with the registry period. Lions Tigers and Bears… oh my!

  • #47899 Reply

    Carl

    For all interested, according to Wikipedia Patch is owned by Hale Global. Here is website with contact info.
    http://www.haleglobal.com

  • #47964 Reply

    Allan

    A different slant on Patch. The Salem witch trials are associated with Halloween. Patch is modern day Puritanism. People hear spooky stories and get worked up emotionally, become fearful, and strike out. The darker side of the Halloween spirit in the U.S. is to chase after ghosts. You’re it and Patch is the guy with the big black buckle shoes. Happy Halloween Patch!

  • #47997 Reply

    George S

    It is funny all these idiots are scared of Sex Offenders on Holloween, it like it is a special holiday that sex offenders can go on the rampage, lol. Of all the ones I met in prison, no one was in there for a sex crime committed on Holloween. Anytime I bring up the fact to someone that the statistics show that the recidivism rate is extremely low for convicted sex offenders, they always have some stupid excuse to rationalize it away, “things like statistics can be faked”, but my question while they can be faked don’t you think that Law Journals and Law schools Law Reviews, if they to print something, they would make sure it is valid before they print it, I mean they have a reputation to uphold. Well enough of my raving, I hate Holloween, because of all it represents for a SO, be glad when it is over! I think that to be fair the Police should have printed in all the papers across the US, HEADLINE NO SEX OFFENCES COMMITTED AGAINST CHILDREN ON THIS HOLLWEEN! unless they found some, but be willing to bet it would be first time offenders rather than ones who are on the registry. I will be willing to put $100 on that, who wants to take my bet, lol!

  • #48569 Reply

    Dustin

    I say next year someone should take their map and add a blue dot to represent the residence of someone who is statistically a bigger risk to sexually accost a trick-or-treater on Halloween. Which, of course, would be the rest of the map.

    Then I’d like to get the word out to (mostly helicopter) parents that if they feel trick-or-treating is that dangerous due to resident registrants in their neighborhoods, find another way to celebrate Halloween. Regardless of what they think of previous offenses, a registrant’s EXISTING right to pursue a normal, law abiding life after his sentence was served and completed takes precedence over the NON-EXISTENT right to dress children up and send them out begging for candy. It’s particularly senseless in that parents that are THAT overprotective probably won’t let the kids eat the candy anyway.

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