[StBernard] Crimefighters ramp up efforts to protect kids during Halloween

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Wed Oct 27 09:05:01 EDT 2010

Crimefighters ramp up efforts to protect kids during Halloween
Reported by: Rob Masson, Reporter
Email: rmasson at fox8tv.net
Last Update: 10/26 8:42 pm

Police warn of sex offenders during Halloween

There are nearly 8,000 sex offenders living in Louisiana, and some could be
right in your neighborhood - something local police want you to be aware of
as your kids prepare to trick or treat this weekend for Halloween. And
officers are taking extra steps to try and make sure offenders don't come in
contact with them.

St. Bernard Parish deputies are going door-to-door, marking the homes of
nearly sixty registered sex offenders with signs, warning children to stay
away on Sunday night and not try and trick or treat.

"A lot of these (sex offenders) moved in after Katrina, coming in from other
areas. We are trying to make contact with them," explained Deputy Chief
James Pohlman.

The penalties for sex offenders caught giving candy or gifts to a person
under 18 are severe, up to three years in jail. The signs warn kids to stop,
saying there's no candy at this residence. But they don't have to be kept
out front.

"They're not required, but we recommend that they do. It keeps them out of
trouble. Hopefully kids bypass the house," Pohlman said.

While St. Bernard may be taking a more aggressive approach against sexual
predators this Halloween, that doesn't mean that other parishes are ignoring
the problem.

"It's still good for parents to go with their kids and watch every
transaction, from close proximity," said Sgt. Michael Levasseur with the New
Orleans Police Department.

Maps showing where registered sex offenders live are offered in every parish
in Louisiana, and parents are urged to go to the internet to map out their
kids' best trick or treat route while avoiding sex offenders' homes.

Police urge parents to take other precautions as well, like choose flame
retardant, highly visible clothing, and inspect your kid's candy.

"We always want to inspect candy. If you see it tampered with, throw it
away," Levasseur said.

In St Bernard, pro-active sweeps continue as deputies work to make sure it's
all treats, and no tricks, for those who just want to enjoy being children.

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