Sex Offender Map: Officials to Ensure Offenders Steer Clear of Halloween
Illinois law forbids known sex offenders from participating in Halloween activities, but they could stray from the law. Parents should map their route, aware of sex offenders in their area.
While Halloween is all about costumes, sugar and fun for kids, parents behind the scenes need to plan for a safe holiday in the event that sex offenders stray from the law forbidding them from handing out candy on Halloween.
A 2005 Kirk Dillard law (House Bill 121/PA 94-0159) prohibits sex offenders from participating in any holiday event involving children younger than 18 years of age as a condition of their probation, parole, mandatory supervised release or conditional discharge, according to a release from Dillard's office.
A more recent law (SB 3579/PA 97-0699) sponsored by Dillard this year restricts all child sex offenders from participating in these same types of holiday events. Offenders who break these laws may be subject to fines or revocation of their parole or probation, and could face additional jail time, according to the release.
“It’s always a good idea to be aware of any sex offenders living in your neighborhood, and then plan your Halloween route accordingly,” Dillard said in a statement. “The Illinois State Police (ISP) caution that Halloween is one of the most dangerous nights of the year for children. However, being aware of potential hazards and being prepared will help ensure a happy, safe Halloween night.”
DuPage County Sheriff John Zaruba's countywide Sexual Predator Enforcement, Apprehension and Registration (SPEAR) team will be out Halloween night ensuring known sex offenders are complying with the requirements of the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act. If they are not in compliance, they will be arrested, according to a release from the sheriff's office.
“Parents need to know that sex offenders may take advantage of vulnerable children this time of year," Zaruba said in a statement. "I encourage every parent to take a few minutes before their children go out trick or treating to check one of the online sex offender registries so they know if there are any offenders living in their area."
Sex Offenders in Your Neighborhood
A search of the Illinois Sex Offender Registry links 20 registered sex offenders to the city of Wheaton, and 12 living in Warrenville. There are three registered sex offenders listed as homeless in Wheaton.
All but one of the offenders are compliant with the laws. Noel Tochimani, convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim under 13, "has failed to maintain accurate registration records as required by law," according to the Illinois sex offender website.
How the Map Works
The map is interactive, meaning you can zoom in, zoom out, or move it around to see all the plotted points.
Floating your cursor over one of the markers will give you the name and age of the sex offender and his address. Double clicking on the marker will give you more information about the specific charge.
The yellow markers represent sex offenders who are not listed as sexual predators. The red pins are those who are labeled as sexual predators in the registry. Of the 20 sex offenders in Wheaton, 12 are listed as sexual predators. Of the 12 sex offenders in Warrenville, nine are listed as sexual predators.
The blue markers represent schools in Wheaton-Warrenville Community Unit School District 200.
The term refers to anyone convicted after July 1, 1999 of certain violations in the Criminal Code of 1961. Sexual predators are required to register for their entire lives, according to the Illinois Sex Offender Information website.
Zaruba's Safety Tips
- Trick-or-treat before it gets dark in the late afternoon or early evening. (The trick-or-treating hours in Wheaton are 3-7 p.m.) There are no official hours for unincorporated DuPage County, but Sheriff Zaruba recommends that children be home by 7:00 p.m.
- If parents and children must go out after dark, stay in well-lighted areas and bring a flashlight.
- Older children should trick-or-treat with an adult or in a large group. Parents should map out a safe route and tell their children to stop only at familiar houses where the lights are on.
- Young children should always trick-or-treat with a parent or trusted adult.
- Wear costumes that can be seen in the dark. Many stores sell glow-in-the-dark or reflective items that can be worn or carried while trick-or-treating. Costumes should also be flame-retardant and short enough to prevent tripping and falling. Avoid hard plastic or wood props, use foam rubber instead.
- Stay within your neighborhood and only visit homes you know.
- An adult should examine all treats before they are eaten. Eat only those treats that are un-opened and in their original wrappers. Sheriff Zaruba recommends that parents discard any homemade treats or fruits or, at a minimum, pay special attention to them. If you suspect that a treat has been tampered with, save it, and contact your local law enforcement agency for testing. (Note: This is important—Not all wrapped treats are safe, either. Last year, a parent found a nail in a Snickers bar in their child's Halloween candy)
- Tell children that they should not enter anyone’s home or car while trick-or-treating. If someone tries to get them to come into their home or car, they should run away and immediately tell a trusted adult.