If your child is trick or treating this Halloween, you'll want to make sure you know who lives in the houses they visit. Lawton currently has 76 registered offenders living in the city. And, while some states have sex offenders turn off their porch lights or put up signs, Oklahoma isn't one of them.
Welcome to my home, little victim, I mean, my little friend. This is just what some Lawton parents are worried about his Halloween; April Adams is one of them. "It frightens me to think and to know that there are children whose parent's say, 'alright, just go down the street, door to door, and be back by 8 o'clock.' Well, you don't know where your kid goes or who they go with or what home they go to," she says.
It could be the home of a sex offender which is why Adams doesn't go door-to-door trick or treating with her daughters. Cities like Baltimore and San Antonio have laws stating that offenders can't decorate, have to turn off porch lights and some even have to put signs in their windows to keep kids away. "I think we should get that," says Ragina Bandy.
Bandy and her four year old son Tyler have been busy getting a costume - maybe a knight this year. But, she doesn't like the idea that sex offenders can dress up and give out candy. "It's scary. I think they should have their lights turned off and not be able to participate in Halloween," she says.
Even though Oklahoma doesn't have tougher laws, the Lawton Police Department is doing some things to help protect citizens. "They increase visibility with marked patrol units in the neighborhoods during Halloween times," says Lieutenant Todd Palmer.
He says Halloween is already a busy time for the LPD. "I think that there is an inherent danger that comes with Halloween, however you can minimize those risks by doing a simple few things." Here are some precautions parents can take:
Make sure children are accompanied as they trick or treat.
Wear reflective clothing
Never go in someone's house you don't know