MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Before children go trick-or-treating this Halloween, the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office is urging parents to use online tools to know the identity of the registered sex offenders in their area.
An online sex offender registry is available for residents of Horry County, Florence County, and Georgetown County, allowing parents to search around where the registered sex offenders live and prevent their children from visiting these homes during door-to-door trick-or-treating.
All three counties integrate the OffenderWatch system onto their websites, allowing users to easily search by address, name, or city. The Horry County OffenderWatch site lists 835 registered sex offenders, 52 of whom are non-compliant for failing to register. There are 394 total offenders in Florence County, according to OffenderWatch, seven of whom are non-compliant. According to the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office, there are 115 registered sex offenders in Georgetown County. Darlington County lists 163 registered sex offenders on its version of OffenderWatch.
An estimated 80 percent of all addresses have at least one sex offender within one mile, according to statistics from the United State Department of Justice and Watchsystems LLC. Forty-five percent of sexual assault victims are under 12, and 75 percent of victims know their attacker. Over half of sexual assaults occur within one mile of the victim's home.
To search and view a list of sex offenders in your area, visit one of the OffenderWatch pages listed below:
Horry County Sheriff's Office OffenderWatch: http://www.sheriffalerts.com/cap_main.php?office=54080
Florence County Sheriff's Office OffenderWatch: http://www.sheriffalerts.com/cap_main.php?office=54216
Georgetown County Sheriff's Office OffenderWatch: http://www.icrimewatch.net/index.php?AgencyID=54140&disc=
Darlington County Sheriff's Office OffenderWatch: http://www.icrimewatch.net/results.php?SubmitAllSearch=1&AgencyID=54637
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (State-wide) OffenderWatch:http://www.communitynotification.com/cap_main.php?office=54575
The Georgetown County Sheriff's Office also offered the following Halloween safety tips:
Halloween Keep in Mind These Safety Tips for Georgetown County Children:
-You or a responsible adult should always accompany children ages 12 and under when trick-or-treating.
-Children over 12, responsible enough to go without you, should stay in groups, follow an agreed upon route, and watch for cars.
-Teach your children to never enter any home without you or your permission and only approach well-lit homes.
-Teach children to bring treats home before eating them and eat only factory-wrapped treats, unless you know the giver well.
-Remind children to stay in well-lit areas, never take shortcuts, and never go into isolated areas.
-Teach your children to say NO and GET AWAY from any person or situation which makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused; even if it means yelling, kicking, attracting attention, or any means of resisting.