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OffenderWatch offers trick-or-treating safety tools

While families go trick-or-treating this weekend, do they know whose door they’re knocking on? Every home may not be safe; there are nearly 900,000 registered sex offenders in the United States, many convicted of crimes against minors. About 80 percent of homes in America have a registered sex offender living within one mile of their address.

Before trick-or-treating this season, sheriff’s offices and police departments advise parents to check their local sex offender registry. Covington-based OffenderWatch, the nation’s leader in sex offender registry management, shares tips on reading and understanding sex offender registries.

Tips for finding and understanding your sex offender registry

  1. Use a sex offender registry published by law enforcement.Not all registries are created equal: There are many third-party websites that publish outdated sex offender data, claiming its accuracy. Parents and guardians should only trust data provided through local law enforcement.

**To find your local registry in Louisiana, visit http://www.lsp.org/socpr/default.html**

  1. Use the map/geographical feature to find offenders in your area.While viewing your county or city’s sex offender registry, input your home address or the address where you’ll be trick-or-treating to view a map of offenders in that area. Print out the map with addresses to take with you.
  2. Understand the difference between offender risk level and tiers in your state.Every state identifies sex offenders differently, segmenting offenses with risk levels and tiers. Visit your state website to find a list of offenses, risk levels and descriptions.
  3. Talk to your children.If sex offenders live in your neighborhood, point out their house to your children and explain the offender has a criminal record. Tell your children to let you know if the sex offender tries to talk to them or lure them inside. Read more on how to talk to your children about sex offenders.
  4. Stay tuned for the free OffenderWatch app. OffenderWatch Safe Virtual Neighborhood is a free app partnered with law enforcement to inform families on registered sex offenders. When the updated app is released this fall, parents can find sex offenders near them, track their children while they are trick-or-treating and receive updates from law enforcement. Stay tuned for the free app by visiting http://www.offenderwatch.com/svn.

Founded in 2000 in Covington under the Watch Systems company, OffenderWatch provides a variety services to sheriffs’ offices, police departments, attorney generals’ offices, U.S. Marshal judicial districts, U.S. attorneys, federal and state probation and parole agents, department of corrections, Indian tribes and more. Learn more at OffenderWatch.com or on Facebook @OffenderWatch