- Associated Press - Saturday, October 25, 2014

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Police are teaming up with parole agents across Wisconsin to make sure sex offenders stay home on Halloween night.

All of Wisconsin’s 5,000 registered sex offenders under active community supervision are subject to special restrictions on Halloween.

Grace Roberts, who heads the Department of Corrections sex offender program, told Wisconsin Public Radio (http://bitly.com/1z8dcGa ) they began actively enforcing the rules under the Halloween Knock and Talk program about eight years ago.

“It’s letting the registrants know that you are under supervision, that we are holding you accountable and it’s not OK for you to encourage children to come to your house and take candy,” Roberts said.

Sex offenders are also barred from putting up Halloween decorations that might attract children to knock on their doors.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said his officers would be out both this weekend and next to remind registrants they’re being watched.

“So we go knock on the door and they better be home, they better answer the door,” Clarke said. “We make sure they don’t have decorations. If we were to go to a house and we have seen this, and they have Halloween decorations in the window, they get arrested.”

Last Halloween in Milwaukee County, 19 sex offenders were arrested for a variety of parole violations.

It’s hard to prove these restrictions reduce or prevent child sex crimes, though. The number of such crimes nationally has dropped by more than 60 percent over the past 20 years.

Studies have shown about 60 percent of child sex crimes are committed by a friend or family member, but corrections officials say the Halloween checkups are a good way to remind parents to be aware of who lives in their neighborhood.

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Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org

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