Police Verifying Valley Registered Sex Offenders are in Compliance Ahead of Halloween
WESLACO – A Rio Grande Valley police department made their rounds to make sure trick-or-treaters are safe on Halloween night.
They were knocking on the doors of every registered sex offender in the city of Weslaco.
In Weslaco, police started at 7 a.m. Wednesday. Splitting forces up to go house-to-house.
On Thursday, neighborhood streets will be packed with children going door-to-door.
Festive decorations and stocking up on candy is a Halloween tradition for Lupe Silva, a Weslaco resident. He’s was getting ready for a hectic night, taking his five children trick-or-treating.
He mentioned they wear lights and go in a group to be safe, but when asked if he’s ever concerned about the house they visit:
“Yes and no, because I’m there. I walk with them to the front of the door or the steps where they’re at,” Silva said.
The Weslaco Police Department wants Silva and others to feel safe.
“We want to make sure that one, you're in compliance with what the law requires, and two just a reminder for Halloween. It is tomorrow,” said Officer Eric Hernandez to an offender.
It’s a two day operation checking on registered sex offenders’ homes for signs they’re complying with their restrictions.
“Going to their residence and verifying, that is their primary residence location and any new information they might need to add. Whether it's new employment, a new vehicle they might be driving,” explained Hernandez.
Officials look to see if they have decorations up or candy – just two items restricted by the sex offender registry.
“And a lot of the times that does require the individual turn off their porch light, staying indoors, they're not allowed to hand out candy or participate in the events outside,” Hernandez said.
Weslaco uses Halloween home visits to make sure offenders’ files are up-to-date, but cities aren’t required to take this extra step.
“It's not mandatory that we make these contacts. Because they are responsible themselves for coming in and registering with us. But it's just something the city of Weslaco likes to do,” explained Hernandez.
Other compliance checks on sex offenders are done at random various times throughout the year.
There’s also a Department of Public Safety website where people can check to see who’s in their neighborhood too. Just type in a location and pull up the name and location of every registered sex offender nearby and their risk level.
Hernandez wants to also remind drivers to be on the lookout for people on the roads. Pedestrian traffic backs up vehicle traffic every Halloween. Also, stay off your phones.
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