Local authorities keep a close eye on sex offenders on Halloween
Authorities are working to make sure sex offenders are following the rules, and officers on patrol were busy Thursday night.
Hamilton County has 559 registered sex offenders, exceeding the 451 registered offenders in Bledsoe County, the home to the Southeast Tennessee Regional State correctional facility.
"Operation Blackout" covers 5 counties and is an effort to keep your kids safe.
The Corrections Department tells Channel 3, last year they had only two minor violations in our region and hope for even fewer this year.
"There's a reason why they aren't supposed to have kids coming to their house," said Ashley Skies.
Channel 3 rode around house to house with the Tennessee Department of Corrections, looking for signs of sex offender violators.
"I think it is very important that the Corrections Department is checking up on them for the safety of not only my children, but others as well," said Skiles.
Corrections Officer Andrew Kilpatrick says there are strict rules for the offenders.
"No pumpkins, no wreaths, nothing; It has to be plain," said Kilpatrick.
Not even their front porch lights were on, in fear trick-or-treaters stopping by.
"That's a major violation. [It] could result in jail time, depends on how far the government wants to go with it," said Kilpatrick.
Kilpatrick says many of them comply with the rules, but he believes it's still important to check in.
"Oh, it's extremely important, because there is always a chance of them re-offending," said Kilpatrick.
Skiles says she isn't letting fear get in the way of celebrating Halloween with her kids.
"I really don't. I think Halloween is a wonderful holiday to celebrate," said Skiles.
"That's what we're out for, to make sure there are no more victims," said Elizabeth Hammond, Probation and Patrol Manager.
Thankfully, there were no violators while we were riding along.
Be proactive and check the TBI website for a list of registered sex offenders in your neighborhood.