ABILENE, TX - Halloween night may be a fun time for children, but the doors they knock on could cause concern.
The Taylor County Probation Office requires registered sex offenders under their supervision to report to the old courthouse Halloween night.
The initiative is called “Lights Out.”
Michael Wolfe is the director of what’s commonly known as ‘adult probation’ for Taylor, Callahan, and Coleman Counties.
He said the program started in 2004.
“We required all sex offenders to turn their lights out on Halloween. They could not answer the doors and they could not put up decorations or pass out candy to children,” Wolfe said.
The program format was later changed.
“A sex offender went to a children’s Halloween carnival,” Wolfe said.
They decided to fix the system by bringing the sex offenders to their location.
They must stay from 6pm to 9pm.
Wolfe said it’s for children’s safety.
“They’re knocking on doors, they’re taking candy from people they don’t know,” Wolfe said.
It also helps police and sex offenders.
“If something should ever happen to a child, law enforcement knows they can take this 80 suspects off their list from that period of time because we know where they are,” Wolfe said.
There will be about 80 people under their supervision Halloween night, but that’s only a small fraction of registered sex offenders in Taylor County.
“There’s approximately 440 in Taylor County,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe encourages parents to look at the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Sex Offender Registry Map.
“It’s always a good idea to know who those people are, where they are in your neighborhood,” Wolfe said.
You can click here to view the map.
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