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

By: Chris Baylor Email
By: Chris Baylor Email

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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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Mo Location: Ramrod on Oct 31, 2011 at 05:24 PM
    Great! An app that lets me know which houses to throw the brick through the window.
  • by yea on Oct 30, 2011 at 12:03 PM
    Modern day witch hunt, but instead of torches and pitchforks we have apps.
  • by Shelomith Location: Texas on Oct 28, 2011 at 02:23 PM
    This is driven by monetary gain and nothing else. I am not an offender, and this is total nonsense when you know the facts. These are the facts, verified by dozens of studies and accessible to anyone who bothers to look: 1. there is zero increased risk for sexual abuse to children on Halloween. 2. the risk of abuse to children anytime does not come from registered offenders but by those they know. 3. the recidivism rate for sex offenders in general is extremely low. 4. there is not a single case on record of an assault on a child on Halloween by a registered offender. If law enforcement and politicians truly want to protect children on Halloween rather than using it as an opportunity to look like they are doing something noble, they should increase traffic control procedures because the only ill that children are at increased risk for on Halloween is falling victim to auto/pedestrian accidents--and possible tummy aches and tooth decay. The parents, however, are at high risk of falling for a scheme that will benefit only the makers of the app.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Oct 30, 2011 at 12:02 PM in reply to Shelomith
      well said!
  • by Anonymous on Oct 28, 2011 at 10:05 AM
    Well said T-Bone. Why is their problem our problem? Meaning we feed/clothe/shelter these people at over $50k per year. Remove the problem and you remove the debt burden.
  • by Me Location: Here on Oct 28, 2011 at 09:56 AM
    While most of you are thinking Halloween, the app would work 365 days a year and it's a precaution. Stop overthinking it.
  • by anon Location: menomonie on Oct 28, 2011 at 07:39 AM
    Anyone have a name for this App?
    • reply
      by anonymous on Oct 28, 2011 at 10:53 AM in reply to anon
      its called sex offender!
  • by Philip Ashe Location: Knapp on Oct 28, 2011 at 05:56 AM
    When I was a kid we used common sense and only went to homes of the people we knew.
    • reply
      by anonymous on Oct 28, 2011 at 10:57 AM in reply to Philip Ashe
      when we were kids it was alot different then now. people dont know the neighbors, and sex offenders are being released to live in yours, mine and almost any neighborhood, so the app is a tool not a replacement for common sense
    • reply
      by Kati on Oct 28, 2011 at 03:03 PM in reply to Philip Ashe
      Yep, and when I was a kid, a parent went with us and stood at the end of the driveway while we went up to the door. Too many parents these days would rather be their kids' "friend" than a parent.
  • by Deb Location: Whitehall on Oct 28, 2011 at 05:31 AM
    Now THAT'S a good app!
  • by anonymous Location: Eau Claire on Oct 28, 2011 at 05:06 AM
    While this is another handy app to have, whatever happened to good old common sense? Do parents have to have an app now to tie their kids shoes? This wasn't a problem when I was a kid at halloween-because we had common sense.
  • by anonymous Location: Eau Claire on Oct 28, 2011 at 05:06 AM
    While this is another handy app to have, whatever happened to good old common sense? Do parents have to have an app now to tie their kids shoes? This wasn't a problem when I was a kid at halloween-because we had common sense.
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