HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Halloween is just around the corner, which means cute little kids dressed up in cute little costumes, they will be on the prowl for candy and fun, local and state but law enforcement officials want to make sure they are safe during the festivities.
According to the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services office in Horry County, agents will be taking extra steps to protect trick-or-treaters. They want to make sure registered sex offenders comply with strict guidelines.
Rich Loskill, Probation/Parole Agent for South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services said there 1,000 registered sex offenders that live in Horry County. The department says out of that there are approximately 98 in the supervision population, and of that Loskill says his department will focus on about 50 to 50 of those offenders.
"People we are looking at offenders that have had victims that are children so we are concentrating our time with those people," explained Loskill.
He says a curfew will be strictly enforced on Halloween night from 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m.
For the past 10 years, the department has been doing door-to-door checks to make sure sex offenders are home and not violating any rules.
"There is no trick-or- treating, there is no giving out candy, no decorations, no parties, nothing that draws attention to the residence, " explained Loskill. The lights are out and the house should be dark."
Checking on registered sex offenders throughout the county is a joint effort will all the local law enforcement agencies in the area.
Loskill added, "We'll pair up in groups for different parts of the county, we've got the south end, we've got the north end, we've got the county out in Conway, Loris, Bucksport, so we'll be out and about."
While law enforcement will be out on Halloween doing their part, Loskill says parents have a responsibility too. "Parents always check the website, know your neighbors, know where you are going. Trick or treat in groups and if something doesn't feel right in your gut, don't go trick- or- treating at that residence," stated Loskill.
For the past two years, the department says they have not made any arrest or had any violations on Halloween night, and Loskill says the goal this year is to keep it that way.
"A lot of these guys are subject to immediate arrest no if and buts about it, if they violate some of these conditions, giving out candy or whatever else they will go to jail that night," Loskill stated firmly.
He says his department has been working with surrounding agencies to make sure all the databases are current. Parents are encouraged to check the websites of their local law enforcement agency for information about sex offenders that may live in their area.