Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Acting Houston chief declined to engage in Halloween sex offender hype

Grits has complained for years  about law enforcement hyping the dangers of sex-offenders on Halloween. IMO they're politicized scare tactics with little basis in reality that ignore the more significant and obvious threats facing families and kids. Indeed, readers are so used to these annual polemics that one commenter chimed in to complain I hadn't written this year's version.

Certainly a lot of sex offender hype went on in the press this year. Searching the terms "Halloween, sex offender" on Google News brought back 264,000 results. All those on the top pages were police PR pieces; none of them actually documented a child harmed or even approached by a sex offender on Halloween. 

So I was pleased to see the Acting Houston Police Chief break that mold and issue a Halloween warning focused on the real dangers facing kids Halloween night. Reported the Houston Chronicle:
Acting Houston Police Chief Martha Montalvo reminded motorists to take extra precautions this year. 
"Please be aware of your surroundings and slow down," she said recently. 
She also recommended that: 
*Parents should inspect candy before it is eaten. 
*Children should have a light source or reflective clothing
*Children not walk alone while trick or treating
And that was it. Thank you, Chief Montalvo, for declining to indulge in the fear-hyping surrounding sex offenders which has become an annual media and law enforcement ritual. Well done.


Anonymous said...

Thank God the Houston chief did not participate in this old, tired out myth. Law enforcement throughout the country waste so much money on this ridiculous scare tactic. People who are required to register are actually GLAD when Halloween is over because of the unnecessary negative exposure that descends on their entire family.

Peter.Marana said...

Thanks again for speaking the truth. The police do force feed the irrational Halloween panic similar to lynchings 100 years ago. Or, the internment of the Japanese during WWII or the way our culture has treated gays. We are quite capable as a society of intense cruelty when frightened.

This irrational panic also applies to the SO registry and residency restrictions. There is no evidence, none, nada, that these cruel restrictions make the community safer. That's right, it is painfully clear that our legislators will do ANYTHING to avoid being seen as soft on crime even when the laws they pass have no evidence to justify their existence.

One last little fact. The recidivism for sex offenders for conviction of another sex offenses covering the five years after release is 2.7%. The recidivism rate for the general felon population in Texas is 40+% for another arrest and 22+ for conviction of another felony. Now that horrible pattern is truly dangerous to society and a huge waste of taxpayer dollars. But it's more fun to exaggerate the risks from the sex offenders who just want to rebuild their lives often after long prison sentences.

Unknown said...

Pasadena PD also did not mention a thing about it (despite being a pretty anti-SO city)

"Halloween is one of the most anticipated nights of the year for kids. We want to make sure that everyone has a fun and safe Halloween. Here are a few safety tips to help keep our trick-or-treaters safe this Halloween.

-Always use sidewalks and cross at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
-Teach children to look left, right and left again before crossing.
-Watch for cars turning or backing up.
-Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.
-Remember to watch our for kids crossing mid-block.
-Slow down and be especially alert.
-Keep phones down so you are not distracted.

For additional safety tips, please visit

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@Miranda, Pasadena TX, or CA?