10/29/2010Posted 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.