Trick or Treat concerns: Safety apps and databases keep families aware of sex offenders nearby

Local News

Several databases help parents stay informed about sex offenders in their area

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Halloween is right around the corner. While many will celebrating it differently this year, safety is always a priority, especially if you going door to door.

Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene says it’s a good idea to stick together.

“A lot of times kids go trick or treating multiple neighborhoods away. I think it is smart to really just stick to the house that you know well,” he said.

Greene says children should always be accompanied by an adult, especially with kids 12 and under.

“If they’re going out together, you know it’s better if they go in groups” Greene said.

It’s always a good idea to know who is living nearby if children are going to be knocking on doors. The Mahoning County Sheriff Department and sheriff’s departments across Ohio, including the Ohio Attorney General, have an online database of registered sex offenders. You can search your neighborhood to see if there is cause for concern.

Ohio Attorney General Sex Offender database

Mahoning County Sheriff Sex Offender database

Trumbull County Sheriff Sex Offender database

Columbiana County Sheriff Sex Offender database

“If you got somebody in your neighborhood that you think might be a creep then don’t go to their house. You don’t have to go to every house,” Greene said.

According to Offender Watch, a sex offender management solution, there are nearly 900,000 registered sex offenders in the United States. They say about 80% of homes in America have a registered sex offender living within one mile of their address.

Offender Watch has has software and apps to help law enforcement officers manage sex offenders.

“They are just everywhere. It doesn’t matter based on socioeconomic, geographic areas. It’s downtown and it’s out in the suburbs,” said Kevin Crews, spokesperson for Offender Watch.

Crews says their network works closely with law enforcement agencies in 38 states, including Ohio, managing the sex offender registries in the area.

“The public is able to go to that public portal page, search for offenders based on a radius around their address or any address, and they are able to sign up for email alerts,” Crews said.

Crews says the importance of Offender Watch is to be aware of your surroundings, especially during Halloween.

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