Simi Valley drops ordinance that kept sex offenders away from trick-or-treaters

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) -- Simi Valley dropped a law that prevents sex offenders from interacting with trick-or-treaters during Halloween.

Two weeks before this year's holiday, city council members decided to take it off the books after the constitutionality of some aspects of the 5-year-old law came into question.

The ordinance, which was enacted in 2012, kept sex predators from interacting with children and had been enforced without any violations - but it had some problems.

City Manager Eric Levitt said more than 10 cities have rescinded similar laws based on lawsuits filed.

When the ordinance was put into place, it was federally challenged and one of the requirements was taken out.

Registered sex offenders no longer had to post signs which said a specific house would not be handing out candy on Halloween.

Now, the city had a lawsuit pending against it regarding the ordinance.

In turn, Simi Valley City Council members approached city leaders to repeal it. Deputy City Manager Samantha Argabrite said no one from the community spoke at public comment Monday night regarding the issue when council members voted unanimously to repeal it.

That's a scary thought for one father who lives a street over from the police department.

"You used to go trick-or-treating and not have to worry about it, but now, no, I won't let my kids, especially the little ones," Robert Sprangers said.

He added his family now decorates their home and throws a party at there. He then goes with his teenagers down the street as they trick-or-treat.

"The neighborhood's safe but the area's just not the same anymore," he said.

Another resident, Ivonne Gillry, agreed.

"If you are a parent that cares about the children you're going to be with them and you are going to be supervising them. And that will be the safest way to do it," she said.

Levitt said police monitor neighborhoods where sex offenders are registered around Halloween. For now, there will be no replacement to the ordinance.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.