Operation Blackout makes Halloween safe for children

KNOXVILLE (WATE) — The state of Tennessee’s Operation Blackout is an effort to stop registered sex offenders from participating in Halloween activities — which they say will keep our kids safe as they trick or treat.

While kids are filling their buckets with candy, officers checked rooms inside the homes of registered sex offenders. Guidelines include no porch lights or Halloween decorations in or outside of the home.

“I really want the community to understand that we are enhancing public safety to the best of our ability. That we are doing everything we can to monitor each offender on supervision to ensure that they are adhering to laws in general but also supervision requirements. We don’t take these offenses lightly,” said Parole and Probation Officer Neal Baldwin.

Sex offenders also have a curfew. They must be inside their house from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Operation Blackout will end November 1. On Halloween, only five violations were reported. These were all minor violations and included leaving a porch light on as well as displaying fall decorations.

Patti Long, a mother trick or treating with her children, told WATE 6 On Your Side, “We can’t live in fear in this society, as parents we have to be discerning when it comes to how we handle letting our children live in this world and being in this world.”

If you’re a parent and would like to access a map where registered sex offenders live in your area more information is available at http://tn.gov/tbi/topic/tennessee-sex-offender-registry.

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