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Beware of sex offenders this Halloween

Lawton_Halloween is about tricks and treats, but when your kids are getting treats, someone behind the door could be playing tricks.  There are more than 500,000 registered sex offenders in the United States - 81 live in Lawton. 

Many folks don't know all of their neighbors very well - if at all.  "We know them fairly well, but we don't know any of their personal business or anything," said parent Marsha Andrews.  "We just moved houses, and I haven't had a chance to meet them yet, so I don't know them at all," said parent Rachel Thomas.

The Lawton Police Department (LPD) says it's the norm for many neighbors not to know much about each other.  "I don't think neighbors go around and introduce themselves like they used to," said LPD Detective Nancy Lombardo.  "I think it's more common that people don't know who their neighbors are."

However, on Halloween, it's important that you do some research before heading out to trick-or-treat.  The LPD has a sex offender list that anyone can review to discover which homes to avoid.  "It shows you their exact address so you can look at it and avoid those addresses," said Lombardo.  However, not every sex offender is listed, so when you walk from house to house, there is no such thing as being too cautious. 

Lombardo says that for every registered sex offender, there is likely another who is not registered -they could have their lights on this Halloween, and be handing out candy.  "Right now there is no Oklahoma law requiring these offenders to identify themselves in any way - specifically - for the Halloween night," said Lombardo. 

If you are unaware of where sex offenders live in your neighborhood, you could be walking right up to their front door.  "Be aware of your surroundings, and be aware who your kids are associated with, and who they are talking with--and just good common sense," said Lombardo.  "Good common sense goes a long way."

If you would like to know if there are any registered sex offenders in your Lawton neighborhood, please visit http://www.lawtonpd.com/sex_offender/index.htm for other locations, please visit http://www.familywatchdog.us/.

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