The Cook County Sheriff's Office will be visiting the homes of registered sex offenders Monday, making sure they don't open their doors for trick-or-treaters and are complying with residential and employment restrictions.
Officers will be knocking on doors in unincorporated areas, and also requiring sex offenders to check in at one of five police facilities, according to a release from the sheriff's office. They will then be asked to re-register, take a new photo and "view an educational video detailing their responsibilities and requirements under the law and updating them on new regulations."
“Halloween is a time of fun for children, and we want to make sure that .. we are doing what we can to ensure the safety of kids out trick or treating, and to make sure the sex offenders within our jurisdiction understand that we will be watching them,” Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said in a statement.
Jaycee Dugard, who was kidnapped by a convicted sex offender and held hostage in California for 18 years, recently sued the federal government for failing to properly monitor her captor. In a statement, Dart said his office is working to ensure something like that doesn't happen in Cook County.
“In the Jaycee Dugard case officers visited the residence regularly, neighbors called with complaints and officers even searched inside his house. But no one searched his yard,” Dart said. In recent weeks, the sheriff's office has been conducting aerial and ground checks on the residences of sex offenders, using a helicopter for photos and video.
Dart's office also offered the following tips for a safe Halloween:
• Make sure children are dressed safely in flame-retardant costumes and not wearing masks that obstruct vision;
• Adults should accompany young trick-or-treaters;
• Preferably trick-or-treat during daylight hours;
• Never go inside a home to accept treats, unless you know the person;
• Target homes and blocks with which you are familiar for trick or treating;
• Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible;
• Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them.
In Chicago, trick-or-treating hours start at 4 p.m. and end at 7 p.m.