Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers campaign to identify unregistered sex offenders
With Halloween less than a week away, double checking your trick-or-treating route and identifying sex offenders in your community may be something on your to-do list.
Today, Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers released a new Halloween themed poster featuring mugshots of nine sex offenders in Harrison and Jackson counties who are wanted for failing to register.
The ‘Boo on You’ poster is part of a push to identify local sexual predators ahead of a holiday in which kids go door-to-door in search of candy.
Over the years, several states across the nation have implemented ‘no candy laws,’ prohibiting registered sex offenders from handing out candy on Halloween.
Some states don’t allow sexual predators to dress up or decorate for the holiday either.
Mississippi doesn’t have these types of laws. During this time, Crime Stoppers is putting an emphasis on identifying and reporting offenders who have not registered. Coast Crime Stoppers Coordinator Lori Massey said, “Last year we received a tip on a sex offender that had failed to register from someone that was a friend of a family that didn’t even realize the guy was a sex offender. So, when we put the information out, they saw that and sent a tip to Crime Stoppers.”
Sheriff Mike Ezell says Jackson County has not seen any issues involving sex offenders on Halloween. However, trick-or-treaters should still follow simple safety tips when out and about at night. “Pay attention to where you’re going. Don’t just eat things that you’re not familiar with like homemade candies and things like that. Try to stay in your neighborhood where you’ll know the people that you’ll be trick-or-treating around.”
Recently, Trunk or Treat events put on by churches, community organizations, and cities have been fun and safe alternatives to going door-to-door. “You see more and more cities and communities doing those kinds of things and you also see a lot of city sponsored events. And they have a lot of kids turn out for those kinds of things. So, you know, it’s just an all-together kind of effort.”
To make sure the neighborhoods in your trick-or-treating route are safe, check for sexual predators by doing a geographical search on the Mississippi sex offenders registry website.