Thursday, October 23, 2008

More on Halloween sex offender hype

The San Antonio Express News today quoted this Grits piece about law enforcement grandstanding over sex offenders at Halloween ("Roundup targets sex offenders," Oct. 23), in which I'd pointed out that extra monitoring of sex offenders who are unlikely to cause problems "mis-targets resources on a night with one of the year's highest youth crime rates." Apparently Bexar DA Susan Reed had wanted the county to round up every sex offender on Halloween night like they do in Waco, but couldn't garner support for the plan.

Such programs are all about playing to the media, not public safety. Kids trick or treating are more likely to be hit by lightning while going door to door than they are to be abducted by a registered sex offender.

I've mentioned before there's only one case in the history of the planet where a child was abducted by a stranger while trick or treating (in Wisconsin in 1973). In that instance, the killer had no prior record and wouldn't have been on any sex offender registry even if it had existed. But reporter Lomi Kriel was reluctant to take my word for it and researched the matter herself. Neither the various law enforcement agencies she talked to nor the National Center on Missing and Exploited Children could identify a single precedent besides the one 35 years ago.

By comparison, how many drunk drivers are out on Halloween? How much vandalism and other youth crime occurs that night while police attention is focused on tracking sex offenders?

They can say this is all about protecting children, but if authorities really wanted to protect kids they'd protect them from actual, demonstrable risks that occur in the real world.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for getting the truth out Grits. We appreciate you.

Anonymous said...

oh, poor mistreated perverts. Here's an oxymoron for you: sex offender rights. Just because there hasn't been a recent abduction, doesn't mean there haven't been cases of offense. If one of these perverts hands out candy, then closes the door and pleasures himself to the thought of your children, then you are furthering his criminal tendencies by allowing them to be around small children. There should be a small town somewhere that houses nothing but sex offenders. No children, no women, just perverts. I cannot even wrap my head around the idea of someone protecting sex offenders, over children. A child's safety should always come before a criminals- always! This story seems to be written by a convicted sex offender- otherwise, why bother fighting for the rights of the sick and deviant?

Jim McCulloch said...

Anonymous #2 seems unusually irrational, even for a troll. But his idea of establishing an entire Texas town of nothing but sex offenders makes him, perhaps unintentionally, a droll sort of troll...as in, "don't let the sun set on you in this here town, stranger."

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting this "common sense" piece of work. How long will it take the general public to figure out that political grandstanding is costing taxpayers millions with little or no impact on public safety? It is not the sex offender down the street that "mom" should be worried about. According to valid research, it is Uncle Joe who "mom"needs to keep an eye on. The TDPS registry is full of offenders who pose no risk to children or public safety. It's all about the money!

ABC said...

For those who are concerned about the issue of sex crimes and Registered Sex Offenders, consider this fact from State of New York Criminal Justice :

“Myth: Community notification and sex offender registries make communities safer.
Fact: Registries help identify where sex offenders live in order for the public to protect their families.”
(click on preceding to see the following)
“The vast majority of sex crimes are committed by someone who is not on the Sex Offender Registry. During 2005-2006, approximately 94% of the persons arrested for sexual offenses in New York State had no prior sex convictions. As a result, these people would not have been on the Sex Offender Registry (New York Sex Offender Management Grant, 2007).”

IOW, most sex crimes are committed by people who are NOT already on the Registry.

Anonymous said...

Annonymous#2 is really bitter. We are all just one accusation away from finding ouselves on the dreaded list. My friend is a so-called "sex offender". He married his so-called "victim" several years ago and is still on the list. What a waste of resourses by our legislators.

Anonymous said...

We should all look on the registry for info about "sex offenders" in our neighborhood. My goodness, we can even find out what size shoe they wear- this is really keeping us safe. NOT!

Anonymous said...

hmmm... me thinkest anon 2:04 doth protest too much! Maybe he's the Uncle Joe that needs to be watched!

Jamie said...

Let's not forget the real danger of Halloween and trick or treating:

Candy and apples split open with hidden razor blades inserted and then sealed back up...

a mom said...

This is a waste of law enforcement resourses and our tax dollars. I raised 3 girls. First and foremost, parents of young children (age 12 and under) should be going trick or treating with them or keep their kids home. Older children should be in groups and should stay within their neighborhood or their friend's neighborhoods. Trick or treating should be over by 9 p.m. at the latest. When my girls were old enough to go in groups, I didn't worry about sex offenders nabbing them. I worried about the "tricksters" more than anything else. I worried about traffic and the fact it was at night. Far more other things pose a much greater threat than having your child molested on Halloween.

Jan said...

I know a sex offender who was required to be in at his residence by 5 p.m. last year. His probation officer paid him a visit to confirm he was home that evening. He wasn't allowed to be with his friends, nor was his family allowed to hand out candy. This sex offender was a 17 year old boy who landed on the registry after having consensual sex with a younger teen. This boy is not a child molester, yet he and many other boys just like him are being treated as such. And, all the resources of tracking sex offenders on Halloween, include tracking these boys. I would say the registry is a joke, but there is nothing funny about it. The registry is punitive and has nothing at all to do with public safety. Check out TX Registry and the number of "court/board ordered" folks on it, as well as the "indecent exposure" offenders. Indecent exposure can cover anything from flashing, streaking, to peeing behind a bush (we really need to know where these guys are on Halloween, right?). Many of the court/board ordered offenders appear to be on the registry as blatant punishment, not public safety. What started out with all good intentions, has turned into one of the most ineffective and expensive tools of public safety that exists. And I for one am fed up with politicians who are wasting our tax dollars; they feed on the fear of parents and use the registry for their political gain. These political leaders attempt to sidestep the Constitution by claiming the registry is not punitive but in the interest of public safety. It is clear from post #2 (although I disagree with his position) that the general public certainly views the registry as punishment.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see the $$$ figures. How much money is passed on to the state for each person on the registry? Lifetime registration equals big, big bucks.

Anonymous said...

I love the fact that anonymous #2 thinks this entire discussion is about sex offender rights. It has nothing to do with their rights, it has to do with common sense and an efficient use of our limited law enforcement resources. A sex offender might be behind you and your children in line at the grocery store, or sitting at the table next to you on "kids eat free" night at Applebee's. He might be your pizza delivery guy. The notion that keeping your children from knocking on their door on Halloween will somehow permananetly avert the gaze of the "perverts" so they cannot pleasure themselves at the thought of your children is completely ridiculous. The sex offender who serves your family ice cream cones at the local Dairy Queen can have all the fantasies he wants to about your children - you certainly don't have to deliver them to his door for that to happen. Hence, all the more reasonable points that have been made about being a responsible parent, knowing where your children are, and going with them when they are younger. I have a six year old, and I shudder to think of the day I actually have to let him leave the house alone. But, it's law enforcement's job to enforce the law and give me information so I can make informed decisions with the safety of my child in mind. It is not their job to babysit. If anonymous#2 has been on the sex offender registry website, then he or she should know where all the registered offenders live in his or her area. If the address being on the registry isn't enough to keep you away, I seriously doubt a "no candy here folks!" sign is going to do the job. If we go down this road, what's going to happen next? A 30-day lock down when Girl Scout cookies go on sale? Your children should not be approaching the home of a complete stranger without you! Whether or not it's Halloween, and whether or not the state legislature says it's "not okay" is totally irrelevant.

fancyrose said...

I love Grits for breakfast! This site-that is! You write a refreshingly sensible blog. I only recently have becaome aware of the "sex offender" misconception. I once thought all the people on the registry were pedophiles, child molesters,etc.
One of my neighbors sons was convicted for having consensual sex w/his girlfriend. I don't consider 16 yr old girls "children". I used to be one. Now I wonder how many on the regisrty are true, dangerous sex offenders??? How can we tell???? With the lifetime registry, A guy who was 19 will still be on the list when he's 59. It'll still show the girl was 15, but it doesnt show that he was 19.
I'm concerned about the true sex offenders. They need to separate them from the registry at the very least.

Anonymous said...

Just because there hasn't been a recent abduction, doesn't mean there haven't been cases of offense.

Any examples?

If one of these perverts hands out candy, then closes the door and pleasures himself to the thought of your children, then you are furthering his criminal tendencies by allowing them to be around small children.

Simple solution to that - go with your children.

There should be a small town somewhere that houses nothing but sex offenders. No children, no women, just perverts.

Mary Kay LeTourneau need not apply.

Lucille said...

Above anon was me - forgot to log in.

Sandra said...

Dear Fancyrose, I just wanted to share something because it's really kind of frightening. About 3 weeks ago I contacted the House chair. We had a discussion about sex offenders and the current registration and Adam Walsh Act that creates increasing difficult societal hurdles for all sex offenders to over come. He told me " all" sex offenders which would include your friend, as having a defective brain and "they just don't think right". He blanketed 'sex offenders' as men and women who can not change, nor become spiritually enlightened or grow up. Frankly such narrow mindedness inour law makers is alarming.

Anonymous said...

If we really want to protect the Children, then ban trick or treating on Halloween. It's a high night of juvenile crime. Children are hurt by auto accidents. And some would say it only serves a cult of "satin". After all, what are we celibrating with Halloween?

Anonymous said...

Blatant punishment is good.
Narrow mindedness is good.

These Halloween Restrictions are cheap, easy and fall on a relatively powerless segment of society, so the public is getting more bang for the buck than if more serious problems were being tackled.

Anonymous said...

But actually this only make sense ... my word, it's HALLOWEEN night when all the sweet and loving parents dress their little darlings up so they can run the streets as witches, ax-murders, zoombies, and vampires just to collect candy. The older kids can still can dress up, plus now party until they are filthy drunk before driving home. Yes, please be afraid ... be very scared! It's Halloween ....

Anonymous said...

oh, poor mistreated perverts. Here's an oxymoron for you: sex offender rights

Well dude. We 'perverts' do not agree with you. I know a few folks that have yet to do one perverted act. THe 17 year old that slept with his 15 year old girlfriend, the college kid that pee'd on the sideway and got busted, Teh guys that got busted after the fact because they can;t spot a fake ID, and let's not forget the 19 guys that have been exonerated recently because they were INNOCENT.

Yeah, folks like you anon 2:04, you are the real danger. You allow people to infringe on all of our rights, the rights of ALL Americans. You believe the Alberto Gonzales' out there. You sir, are more dense than lead. Get a clue, or please help those around you by jumping from a building. Either way, the world will be a much safer place.

The Fallen One said...

You should check out my article on Halloween Laws at my website, www.oncefallen.com/HalloweenLaws.html. These laws are merely the latest of the most rediculous laws known to man.

If you happen to see this before Satuday, Oct. 25, 10 pm Eastern/ 9 Central, you may want to check out my show, which will address the Halloween Laws and other lucicrous laws out there:

http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/talkCast.jsp?masterId=29032&cmd=tc

Anonymous said...

There is no State of Texas law which restricts sex offender activities on Halloween. Nor is there any ordinance in the City of Houston or Harris County. In those locations, and in Texas generally, the restrictions about which you speak relate ONLY to those convicted sex offenders who are on some type of community supervision; i.e. probation or parole, and only then because they are restricted by the rules of that supervision as laid down by their supervising officers. I cannot speak to the possible city ordinances of other Texas communities because I have not researched them.

Jeff Deutsch said...

Hello,

You are quite right. Ironically, if I were a pervert looking for children to harm, the worst occasion to do so would be Halloween - when the kids are normally out in groups and supervised by adults.

Most (if not all) of these Halloween restrictions are grandstanding, to make us all feel safer. As far as I can tell they accomplish little.

Keep up the good work!

Jeff Deutsch

PS: My word verification was "saner". That's a good aspiration for legislation on this topic.

Anonymous said...

There are reasons why urinating in public, having consensual sex with a minor, and the like can cause one to be convicted as a sex offender. Think about it. These are all to easy for a true sex offender to use in order to prevent them from being convicted. "All I was doing officer was about to pee" is an excuse that I can see being used. Consensual sex with a minor laws varys by state, but even the stipulations of the law should be known by the older of the two consenting people. Especially if you are in a position of authority over the other. Supplying alcohol and/or drugs to a minor and them having sex with them is an absolute crime in my state, and it should be. Otherwise, you could hear the excuse "we were just partying officer and got a little carried away...we both were intoxicated when we had sex...she slurred the word yes to me officer". The law is not perfect, but does reduce some of the excuses that prosecuters have probably heard time and time again. I used the sex offender list to help me not purchase a house that was located smack in the middle of a surprisingly large number of sex offenders residing nearby. I have children of my own, and the list has value.

arriendos said...

If we really want to protect the Children, then ban trick or treating on Halloween. It's a high night of juvenile crime. Children are hurt by auto accidents. And some would say it only serves a cult of "satin". After all, what are we celibrating with Halloween?