On Halloween, focus on “sex offenders” misplaced, neglects real risks to children

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By Sandy . . . Under the header, “Local law enforcement performs Halloween sex offender checks,” the second sentence of the article explains. “Designed to keep the community safe on Halloween, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Troy Police Department, conducted sex offender checks throughout the county, with positive results.”

The “positive results” are portrayed in a “crime scene” photo showing law enforcement officers detaining a man at his home in rural Lincoln County for the crime of having his porch light on.

Missouri is one of a few states whose legislature bought into the fabricated “Halloween effect” myth that sexual crime against children spiked at Halloween and that persons already on a registry for a previous sexual crime conviction are of heightened risk to children out trick-or-treating. The resultant legislation mandates no outside lights after 5 p.m. on Halloween evening, staying at home from 5 – 10:30, no Halloween-related contact with any children, and affixing a sign to the front of one’s residence announcing “No candy here.”

Every study done, every shred of evidence, shows this is a non-issue. This linking of Halloween to harm for children from those on the registry is a creation that started emerging right after 2000, and like a snowball speeding downhill, it grew and grew and by 2015 was a full-blown phenomenon.

In order to justify this legislation, states like Missouri, and many, many other individual jurisdictions around the country, created task-forces to deal with the issue by performing “Halloween sex offender compliance checks”, i.e., raids on the homes of law-abiding citizens, confining registered citizens to their homes for the hours of Halloween evening, and some even requiring registered citizens to submit to a “Halloween lock-up” at the jail or library or some such place under law enforcement guard.

The “positive results” are further explained: Legislation is being introduced to create a multi-agency program dedicated to address “the issue of sex offenders in Lincoln County.”

According to the Missouri Sex Offense Registry, 307 registrants live in Lincoln Co. A search finds one case in 2021, none in 2020, and one in 2019 in which a person on the registry was arrested for committing another sexual crime.

Or is this not the “issue” that this new legislation is designed to address? Is the issue that too many registrants had outside lights burning on Halloween? Or is the issue simply that persons on the registry live in the county and, due to the state-wide residency and proximity restrictions on where they can live, work and just exist, they are pushed into rural areas farther and farther from where they can find employment and have a decent shot at successful community integration? Is the “issue” that neighbors don’t want them anywhere?

It is sad and unfortunate that the “positive results” spoken of by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office did not extend to some portion of law enforcement being dedicated to traffic patrol and traffic checkpoint stops throughout the county Halloween evening. Had they been, is it possible that the little seven-year-old girl Lincoln County girl who was hit and severely injured by a pickup truck while trick or treating would not have been?

We’ll never know, will we?

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8 Thoughts to “On Halloween, focus on “sex offenders” misplaced, neglects real risks to children”

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  1. Bob

    I just read this article.. According to a study in the Journal of Pediatrics published by the American Medical Association (JAMA Pediatrics), pedestrian death increase by 43% on Halloween. Kids and teens were particularly at-risk. Why are car accidents more likely to happen on Halloween and how can we lower risk?

    Reason #1: Drunk Driving
    Young drivers are most likely to cause accidents on Halloween and a contributing factor is drunk driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 42% of car crash deaths on Halloween involved a drunk driver.
    So Perhaps if law enforcement would put as much effort into catching drunk drivers as they do harassing those of us who are no danger to anyone a lot of lives could be saved. Of course there is no registry for drunk drivers, even for those with multiple offenses.

  2. H n H

    From the article :

    “The results and outcomes were amazing to see,” Alfaro said. “Continuing to show a unified effort in sex offender compliance is a major step toward the growth and maturity of a booming economy.

    “We look forward to even greater results in the years to come.”

    …. Continuing to show a unified effort in SO compliance is major step toward the growth and maturity of a booming economy…. Let that sink in a bit… We look forward to even greater results in the years to come”… Results in what? Chasing made up crap like someone with their porch light on? Or going to the grocery store on Halloween night?

    How insane and absolutely inebriated on power are these people? I never in my wildest dreams could think up such outright lies and blatant false narratives being spouted all in the name of “protecting a child”. This entire registry scheme is outright laughable and disgusting in its application, so much so it will eventually crumble under its own weight. Seeing those officers all standing there with their stupid smiles on their faces… All proud of arresting someone for having their porch light on is so dumb… Just reeks of pompous arrogance, they have no idea how dumb they look to everyone. I can only think of one organization more vile and corrupt in its agenda, but it was swiftly ended at the end of WW2 in Germany. Being on the registry and facing the continual endless shaming, I’m convinced this life has nothing else to offer. To fight this, is impossible, but it will all end, someday. It may take the collapse of the entire country, but it will happen.

  3. Facts should matter

    That third photo from the article is really predictable and disgusting. It screams: “We take pride in dehumanizing people and doing vindictive spite work and get high-fives for doing it. We’re all family here.”

    They’re promoting and glorifying hate, not safety. They’re actually taking false recognition for public safety with their jack-boot thuggery.

    The only thing they’re being “successful” at is being a dead weight and burden on tax payers.

  4. TS

    If I was ZZ Top management, I’d ask for the band name to be stricken from the article. Read it if you don’t know the reference here. It paints an illustration that does not need to be painted for the band but could for someone who lives in the Missouri hills with a white lightning still nearby and a corncob pipe. Sorry if that offends all the home distillers in the hills of MO who smoke corncob pipes. I hear banjo music from over yonder…

    Also, if the lights are off, then would a placard actually be able to be seen in the dark? Doesn’t no lights usually mean don’t bother me or I am not home? If you are going to the door with no lights on and have no real business there then what possibly makes stopping there acceptable? Is trick or treating an acceptable business visit practice? I can see this entire deal being stricken done in court if someone would do it.

    1. Sandy

      We did manage to get some versions of it suppressed in Georgia. There sheriffs were initiating actions that state law did not authorize them to do. This situation in Missouri is different and more difficult because these rules are codified in state law. Doesn’t make it impossible, just different and more complex.

  5. Jeremy from Indiana

    Can we use some resources to defend this guy and any others in court under the premise that this law they used to charge him is a violation of his constitutional rights? I know in many jurisdictions, these laws are placed on registrants that are in the system (probation/parole), which can be argued by the governments a lot easier since those systems are considered a form of punishment and many liberties are removed while under supervision. This particular law though, it appears, targets ANYONE on the registry living there. That’s a big difference.

    Once off supervision, the registry laws “claim” to be administrative rather than punitive even though we know they are not. Granted, the article doesn’t state whether this registrant was on supervision or not, so more research would be needed on this to defend him in particular, but the law appears to encompass all registrants.

    If this registrant is not on supervision, we should find a way to support his defense on constitutional grounds of liberty. Telling someone what they can or cannot do on their own property that is different than the general public is a violation of the equal protection of the laws doctrine. Forcing someone to place a sign on their property is compelled speech. Forcing someone to remain at their residence during certain hours under threat of arrest is illegal detainment.

    Please help them fight this!

    1. Sandy

      I am giving your question to a person much more legally acute than I.

      Just from my limited knowledge, I believe that he would have to specify which constitutional right or amendment was violated in his case. He would have to show how it was unconstitutional, prove that it was unconstitutional, and would have to show how he suffered harm from it.

  6. Perry P.

    I can hardly wait until all the kids of Registered Citizens over the last 10-30 years, finally become adults and begin running for Office at the City, County, State and Federal Level, as well as get into Law Enforcement themselves. Eventually, enough of them will recall how they were abused, harasses, hurt, or recall those of their peers who committes suicide. Then they will begin making enough waves to finally get rid of The Registry. I’ll be dead by then, but at least I’ll finally be at Peace!!