Halloween is only a few weeks away.
Stores like Halloween Express near Cool Springs Mall are fully stocked with décor and costumes for kids of all ages. Workers have been gearing up for the holiday since late September.
Now, the Franklin Police Department is gearing up too.
On October 3, officers went door-to-door with six other local law enforcement agencies to check on Williamson County's registered sex offenders.
The compliance checks were coordinated by the department's Special Victim's Unit and known as Operation RAVEN (Random Address Verification, Enforcement, & Notification).
“We want to verify that they're actually there and that they're in compliance with the law,” said Franklin Police Lieutenant Charles Warner.
The festivities associated with Halloween come with special rules for registered sex offenders.
According to the State of Tennessee Department of Correction, registered sex offenders currently on state probation or parole are under the following restrictions.
- No fall or Halloween decorations inside/outside the home.
- No distribution of candy
- No costumes
- No trick-or-treating with children
- No Halloween parties
- No corn mazes, haunted houses, hayrides, or other seasonal activity
- No children-associated public/private gatherings
- Curfew (10/31/12 – 11/01/12)
Wednesday's investigation revealed 76% of the 121 registered sex offenders in the area were in compliance with restrictions. Nine possible violations were discovered, and 20 offenders were not found.
“It doesn't mean they were in violation,” Lt. Warner said. “It just may simply mean that they weren't home or weren't at work that day. We'll make another attempt to follow up and make contact with those people.”
Compliance checks are done year-round by local law enforcement. Efforts have been ramped up during the month preceding Halloween due to the expected increase of children in neighborhoods.
Lt. Warner told Nashville's News 2 Operation Raven sent a clear message.
“We want to put registered sex offenders or people who have restrictions on them, during Halloween and other holidays, on notice that we're watching,” he said.
Halloween safety isn't only in the hands of law enforcement. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation allows anyone to search specific areas for registered sex offenders.
“You can search by name. You can search by location. You can search by address,” said Lt. Warner. “Knowledge is power, and that's why that information is there to empower you as parents to help protect you and your children.”
Click here for more information on TBI Sex Offender Registry.