Smartphone apps help keep trick-or-treaters away from sex offenders

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There's a new tool parents can use while their kids are trick-or-treating to help keep them away from sex offender's homes and it's already with-in many parent's reach.

Smartphone apps are now popping up that tie to the sex offender registry. The smartphone apps show you all the registered sex offenders in your neighborhood. Parents we talked with say having this with them on Halloween is a great idea.

With the leaves falling off the trees and ghosts and pumpkins popping up it can only mean the streets will soon be filled with kids looking to get as much candy as they can. But what about a house where a sex offender lives? Now with a variety of mobile apps you can know what houses to avoid.

"I think it could be useful to parents to keep their kids safe," says one parent.

"I think that's very smart so you know where to stay away from," says another.

Parents say any tool aimed at keeping their families safer is a plus. According to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections website registered sex offenders who are under supervisions cannot have their porch lights on or answer the door to trick or treaters.

"They're are a number of websites you can look at to see where they're (sex offenders) at in town and they're are apps now you can check as you're walking around and those are good assets as you're walking around," says Sgt. Matt Kelm with the Chippewa Falls Police Department.

"Sometimes I check the website. The mobile apps are nice because you could use it if you were in a different location than normal, I would rather know that know," says one parent we talked to.

Police say another good tip to stay safe with out using the apps by just sticking together.

"It's common sense things, young children should go with parents older kids should go in groups, and you should always stick to neighborhoods you know," says Sgt. Kelm.

“I think (trick-or-treating) is safe but I would take my son or daughter with me I wouldn't let them go on their own anyways. Supervision's probably the best policy," says another parent we talked with.

You can find apps for iPhone and Android phones from their respective app stores. Some of the apps are free others do cost a buck or two and if you don't have a smart phone you can get the same information on line through the DOC.

Click here for for the DOC's website

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