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Trick-or-Treating: High Tech Help

When trick-or-treating, parents can use their smartphone to determine where sex offenders live in their neighborhood by downloading an app to their smartphone.
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. - From the candy to all the costumes, Halloween is on the list of favorite holidays for many children.

"I like to see all the houses and how they're decorated," said Emma Nakopoulos who was wearing a Duck Dynasty costume. "My favorite part is going up and meeting all the people."

But meeting all the people, all the strangers, means the possibility of walking up to the home of a sex offender.

When trick-or-treating, parents can use their smartphone to determine where sex offenders live in their neighborhood by downloading an app to their smartphone.

There are several apps that are free to download. For example: Sex Offender Search, Sex Offenders Search Lite, The Sex Offender Registry Archives, etc.

 "They can see whether there is a sex offender registered for that particular neighborhood," said Washington County Sheriff Doug Mullendore. "So they can know the address and kind of stay away from those areas."

Some parents have chosen to stay away all together this year, opting for alternative Halloween traditions for their children like the Trunk or Treat event at Faith Christian Fellowship in Williamsport.

Rachel Lamb of Hagerstown said, "We enjoy doing this because it's a lot safer. We don't have to worry as much doing this."

Sheriff Mullendore says sex offenders aren't usually a problem on Halloween.

"Generally, sex offenders, we keep a pretty good track and if they're on probation we make sure we visit them and make sure they're compliant with the regulations provided to them," said Sheriff Mullendore.

He also suggests that children be supervised, and to never enter a stranger's home. A few simple guidelines, and one high tech way that allow parents to join in on the fun.

"It's not something that I'm concerned with because I wouldn't let my children go door-to-door without me or my husband being right with them," said Shelley Nakopoulos of Boonsboro. "So, I wouldn't feel that it's going to be an issue."

Click Here to go to the U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website.
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