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Inland Empire sex offenders banned from Halloween decorations

October 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
With Halloween coming, local parents are worried about how to protect their children from criminal offenders.

With children going door to door trick-or-treating on Halloween, local communities are taking action to protect their kids from sex offenders and other criminals.

An ordinance against sex offenders was passed a few weeks ago that applies to unincorporated areas of Riverside County, and some cities have similar rules. Sex offenders won't even be allowed to open the door to trick-or-treaters on Halloween night.

Days from Halloween, decorations were going up all over homes across Riverside County.

But in the city of San Jacinto, there are some people who are no longer allowed to decorate for Halloween: sex offenders.

"Usually we have the predator going after the prey, but Halloween causes incidental contact between the prey coming to the predator, and so I want to minimize that contact," said Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone.

San Jacinto is following the lead of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, which recently banned all sex offenders in the unincorporated county area from decorating during Halloween.

Stone says the law bans sex offenders from decorating, including activating any external lights on Halloween night, and offenders are banned from opening the door to trick-or-treaters.

So far, the cities of San Jacinto and Temecula have adopted ordinances of their own. The city of Hemet passed a resolution approving the idea.

"These ordinances have been on the books in the cities of Orange and San Jacinto, and to my knowledge there have been no challenges, but we're always up for the challenge if somebody wants to challenge it, I'll always err on the side of children's safety," said Stone.

The ordinance is applicable to all registered sex offenders living in unincorporated Riverside County. If they're caught in violation of the new ordinance, it would be a misdemeanor.


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