While it is meant to be harmless and fun, there are plenty of dangers lurking around Halloween that can send kids to the emergency room.
The nature of the holiday alone can make it dangerous, as children wear loose-fitting costumes they can trip over, candles glowing inside of pumpkins can cause fires and sharp props like sticks or plastic swords can cause eye injuries.
But of all dangers, car
accidents are among the most common. Children are more than twice as likely to be killed by a car while walking on Halloween night than at any other time of the year, according to the organization Safe Kids USA.
Another potential danger at Halloween is trick-or-treating at the residences of registered sex offenders.
If parents aren’t planning on personally accompanying their kids, or sending along older siblings on the trick-or-treat rounds, they should make sure they know where any registered sex offenders may reside.
In the Fenton area (48430 zip code), there are currently 78 registered sex offenders. Forty of those 78 do not currently live in the Fenton zip code, but Fenton is listed as another known address.
In the Holly area (48442 zip code), there are currently 79 sex offenders, 36 of whom do not reside in the Holly zip code but Holly is listed as another known address.
In the Linden area (48451 zip code), there are 20 registered sex offenders with two of them listing Linden as another known address.
These lists can be found at michigan.gov/msp and click on sex offender registry. Or, simply Google Michigan sex offender registry. Information can be gathered about specific individuals by name or all offenders by city.
Members of the registry are not allowed anywhere within 1,000 feet of a school or playground and in some cases, are barred from certain jobs. While the list does keep neighborhoods informed of who is moving in next door, there are some who view the list as unfair to those who commit lesser crimes.
As long as convicted sex offenders let law enforcement agencies know about where they are living and working, it is their right to relocate to a new home. Since offenders frequently change their address, it is very important to always be informed.
Michigan began indentifying offenders in three different tiers in July 2011.
TIER 1 offenders include those convicted of possession of child pornography, aggravated indecent exposure if it is witnessed by someone under 18, misdemeanor sexual touching if the victim is under 18, and taking photos of an unclothed person if that person is under 18.
All Tier 1 offenders must register with police once a year for 15 years.
TIER 2 offenses include soliciting minors for sex, distributing child pornography, using the internet to seek out children for sex, sexual touching if the victim is between 13 and 17 years of age, and soliciting a prostitute under the age of 18.
These offenders must register twice a year with police for 25 years.
TIER 3 offenders include those convicted of rape, attempted rape, molesting a child under the age of 13, and kidnapping a minor, even if there is no sexual component to the crime.
Tier 3 offenders must report four times a year for life.
People concerned about sex offenders in their neighborhood and the type of offense that put them on the list should be aware that laws are strict in order to protect the public.
However, it is possible for someone to get on the registry as a Tier 1 offender for urinating in public, for example. It also is possible for someone to be on the registry as a Tier 2 offender if one person was 18 and the other 15 when they engaged in sexual activity. That couple could now be married and have children of their own.
If a person feels comfortable doing so, it is socially acceptable to ask why the neighbor is on the registry and get the reason straight from the source. It may give a clearer understanding of the offense and judge of character.
Those on the list face strict reporting requirements or face going back to jail or prison. They must report within three business days any changes in addresses and employment, new school enrollment, and the purchase or sale of a car. They also must report email addresses and screen names.