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If you’re online scouting out the best streets to take the kids trick or treating, you might want to check the state’s sex offender registry to avoid certain places as well.
Registered sex offenders are free to do what everybody else does when costumed children knock at the door on Halloween. Open up and hand out the candy.
There are no specific restrictions on what registered sex offenders can do on Halloween, according to State Police Sgt. Rebecca Eder-Linell, who is in charge of the online sex offender registry. Offenders on parole or probation may have more restrictions, she said.
There are about 2,800 registered sex offenders in New Hampshire, Eder-Linell said. What may be of concern to parents, too, are the sex offenders who are supposed to register, but whose whereabouts are unknown to the authorities.
“There are about 125 that are constantly missing and we don’t know where they are,” Eder-Linell said.
Those are offenders who are deliberately trying to evade registering and many have probably left the state, she said. There are probably another 100 or so who are not in compliance, but not deliberately evading authorities, some who forgot to register or moved within New Hampshire and haven’t registered yet.
A state trooper actively tracks sex offenders to make sure they comply. For the ones who have left the state, the U.S. Marshal’s Office assists state police, she said.
According to the FindLaw web site, states including Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas, have passed “No Candy” laws, which restrict sex offenders from passing out candy on Halloween.
“We don’t have restrictions on sex offenders or their behaviors whether they are online or travelling places,” Eder-Linell said about New Hampshire.
If the offender is still on parole or probation, there could be restrictions, but they would then be monitored by the Department of Probation and Parole.
“I recommend that parents check the sex offender registry before they take their kids trick or treating so they are aware,” Eder-Linell said.
The website has photos of registered offenders, the specific crime the person was convicted of and the address where he or she lives.
There have been more than 6,000 offenders in data base, but some have died or been incarcerated. A law that went into effect in 2016 allows sex offenders to petition the court to get off the sex offender registry if they were convicted before 1993.
A sex offender convicted of a misdemeanor sex crime has to register for only 10 years, Eder-Linell said.
But level 2 and 3 who are convicted of felony sex crimes against children must register for life, she said.
According to the California parole website, officers conduct “Operation Boo” on Halloween, which allows officials to conduct nighttime checks on Halloween to check on sex offenders.