Originally created 10/31/06

Parents should be watchful tonight

Local law enforcement wants to remind parents that there are worse things to fear than goblins and ghouls this Halloween.

Officials are urging parents to check their county's sex offender registry and call law enforcement if they see anything suspicious before cutting their youngsters loose for the evening candyfest.

"For many kids on Halloween night, every door holds nothing more than the promise of more candy, but of course we know otherwise," said Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.

Officials in Richmond, Aiken and Columbia counties said their agencies plan to increase patrols in subdivisions but that no police presence can top the watchful eye of a parent.

"Without a doubt, if parents see anything suspicious or that they're concerned about, we want them to call us," Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength said.

In states such as Ohio and North Carolina, strict new guidelines require sex offenders to attend meetings with authorities during the peak trick-or-treating hours.

Maryland offenders have been ordered to turn off their porch lights tonight.

No such specific guidelines exist in Richmond, Columbia and Aiken counties, but in Georgia and South Carolina, paroled offenders are not allowed to be alone with anyone younger than 18, officials said.

"Normally with a part of their parole conditions they can't have any contact with a minor child," said Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles spokeswoman Scheree Lipscomb.

Her office has advised officers to review their sex offender caseloads and to warn any parolees who might be regarded as child predators to maintain a safe distance from children.

Associated Press reports were used in this article.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.


If parents have concerns, they can contact law enforcement officials:

- Columbia County Sheriff's Office: (706) 541-2800

- Richmond County Sheriff's Office: (706) 821-1080

- Aiken County sheriff's office: (803) 648-6811

Sex offender registries:

- Columbia County: www.columbiacountyso.org

- Aiken County: www.mapsexoffenders.com

- Richmond County: www.augustaga.gov/departments/sheriffs_office/home.asp


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