10/29/2010

Voutour Fear

Posted by MJ

Voutour was kind enough to remind us to be especially careful of sexual preditor strangers on Halloween even though statistics show no difference in sex crimes on Halloween than any other time of year:

...A study published last year examining nine years of crime statistics in 30 states showed no spike in sex crimes against children on or around Halloween.
A group of university professors and a Washington state prosecutor researched the issue in response to the flurry of Halloween-specific restrictions on sex offenders.
Like the "urban myths" warning of tainted candy and razorblades in apples, the authors suggest, the trend toward Halloween policies targeting sex offenders "combats a nonexistent problem."
"Halloween appears to be just another autumn day where rates of sex crimes against children are concerned," they wrote:
Focusing on registered sex offenders, while well-intentioned, might distract police from other more probable threats to children, said Mark Chaffin, a University of Oklahoma professor of pediatrics and the study's lead author.
For example, children ages 5 to 14 are four times more likely to be killed in vehicle-pedestrian crashes on Halloween than on any other day of the year, the authors pointed out...
Some more food for thought:

Gov't statistics show that a vast majority of the offenses are commited by people the victim knows (~95%), that the recidivism rate for convicted sex offenders is less than 5% and that first contact is almost never near places where children congregate (schools, playgrounds, etc).
A 2007 report by the Minnesota Department of Corrections tracked 224 sex offenders released from prison between 1999 and 2002 who committed new sex crimes prior to 2006. The first contact between victim and offender never happened near a school, daycare center or other place where children congregate. The report concluded, “Not one of the 224 sex offenses would likely have been deterred by a residency restrictions law.” The study warned that these laws isolate offenders in rural areas with little social and treatment support, with poor transportation access and with few job opportunities. The resulting increase in homelessness makes them harder to track and supervise. “Rather than lowering sexual recidivism,” the report said, “housing restrictions may work against this goal by fostering conditions that exacerbate sex offenders’ reintegration into society.”
Enjoy your Halloween with your children. Be careful crossing the street. Leave your "scary" imagination for the ghosts.

4 comments:

Rocketboy said...

More info about false scares...

"And how many children have been harmed by randomly poisoned trick-or-treat candy? Approximately zero. It turns out that the Halloween sadist is about 1 percent fact and 99 percent myth."

http://www.theatlantic.com/food/archive/2010/10/the-meaning-of-halloween-candy-psychopath-stories/65281/

phantom said...

If there was nothing to worry about, how come I watch as car after car drops off kids onto my street to trick or treat coming to the "decent" neighborhood instead of staying in their own amongst the sex offenders and the like??

Would you let your kids trick or treat at the pedo houses based on these statistics?? I personally wouldn't want to be the 1 percent victim, how bout you??

Anonymous said...

They are coming to your street for the full size candy bars ;)

MJ said...

Those with lower incomes have always traveled to higher income neighborhoods. More houses, more candy, more people and thus less boring for the kids.

If they avoided it out of fear of pedofiles (strangers)then it's just the way the human mind works. The least likely events are always the scariest and the news/media constantly sells us what we crave.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/fashion/13kids.html?pagewanted=2

"About 115 children are kidnapped by strangers each year, according to federal statistics; 250,000 are injured in auto accidents."

So to protect our kids from a 0.0000016% event we stuff them into a car to put them into a 2000X more likely auto accident event: (250k/75m/0.0000016) We increase the problem by increasing the number of hurried 2 ton cars zipping around the schools increasing the odds of a car based accident. We have less kids on the streets making those left walkig less in the drivers' consciences and with less "safety in numbers" while walking. Plus we are verging to a growing child obesiety problem due in part to their lack of exercise. Great system we have building here.

Why do we not have a bad driver on-line registery and large car markings? It would go towards the much larger problem. The only issues are there would be so many transporting kids to school each day that they would probably be ignored...

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