Fraction of registered sex offenders prohibited from Halloween festivities

Posted at 8:56 PM, Oct 31, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-01 07:19:10-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - On Halloween night, the Virginia Department of Corrections along with Virginia State Police will be tracking several sex offenders to make sure they're either at a probation meeting or their porch lights are turned off.

This is all apart of what officials call "Operation Porch Lights Out."

Through the operation, offenders are either required to remain at home with their lights out and not answer the door or they must attend a meeting at a secure location during the evening hours when children are likely to be trick or treating.

"This operation is a collaborative effort to protect children across the commonwealth," Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) Director Harold Clarke said.

"We know families remain vigilant while children are having fun trick or treating, including watching traffic and checking treats, and we will be vigilant in our efforts the enhance children's safety."

However, of the roughly 15,000 registered sex offenders in Virginia, only 3500 of them can legally be monitored.

"Operation Lights Out is only for sex offenders who are on probation or parole," State Trooper Samuel Moss said.

VADOC and State Police will be doing random house visits on Halloween night.

To keep children safe all year round, parents are urged to look at the sex offender registry website.

Parents can also sign up for email alerts so they'll know when an offender moves into their area.