Matt's Memo: Halloween and sex offenders?

There TMs a purity in a child dressed as a bunny, a super hero or a princess ringing a doorbell and shouting an exuberant Trick or Treat from between his or her joyful smile. The Halloween tradition is an evening for happiness on several fronts. The costumed child rings the bell. The proud parent holds the flashlight. The homeowner answers the door. They all experience a moment that lightens any mood.

Yet, all the fun that comes with Halloween is being tainted more and more each year by law enforcement highlighting unfounded concern that a sex offender might be lurking behind the next door. Parents have enough legitimate issues of concern when it comes to their child TMs safety in today TMs world. Why add another?

Each year the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision invite the media to ride along with parole officers as they check on sex offenders on Halloween making sure they live at the correct address and are not bothering anyone. This year I asked the Public Information Officer whether there has ever been a case of a sex offender harming a child during Trick or Treating. Carole Weaver answered, to my knowledge none under parole supervision.

A 2005 NY times article surveyed some of the states that were implementing sex offender programs on Halloween. The article reached back into the archives searching for the first state to make such a move. It pointed to Virginia in 2002. The article reveals the lack of any incident that started the odd pairing of Trick or Treating and concern about sex offenders.

The advent of a heightened concern for sex offenders came with highly publicized national cases of abductions and abuse of children. The concern for the safety of children is legitimate, but the connection to Halloween is not.

You inevitably will hear more in the coming days about sex offender registries, Level III offenders and officers on the look out on Halloween. Please don TMt worry any more than you would on any other day. And if you see an officer ask him why law enforcement has turned Halloween into sex offender day? It TMs a marriage that never should have happened.

Any questions or comment please forward them to . I may even use some of your thoughts on NBC 3 News at 5:00, the 10:00 News on CW6 or on

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