Facebook helps keep kids safe on Halloween

(WISH Photo)

BEDFORD, Ind. (WISH) – An Indiana police department is using social media to alert those participating in Halloween activities to sex offenders living in their community.

An officer with the Bedford Police Department created a public service announcement video that runs on the department’s Facebook page.

Also on the page, are pictures identifying local sex offenders.

The page has people in the community talking. Since Sunday, the department’s Facebook page has been getting a lot of traffic.

“We think it’s a great way to get information out to them in a timely manner,” said Officer Derek Blackwell.

“We have a very active police department here. They are pretty concerned about kids,” said Mike Lewis of Bedford.

The department is showing pictures of the 45 registered sex offenders who live in Bedford.

“We know that the information is out there already on the sex offender registry; however, we wanted to make it easier to find the local offenders in our community,” Officer Blackwell said.

The Bedford community goes all-out for Halloween. Every other home on O Street is decorated to welcome little ghosts and goblins.

“Kids, it’s all about the candy for them, you know,” said Justin Graham of Bedford.

Graham watched the video and he’s a father of three children.

“I couldn’t imagine anything like that happening, so putting people out there, making us aware of who to look for and who to keep away from, I think is a great idea,” he said.

Officer Blackwell said we’re living in a different time with different ways of reaching people.

“Everybody is on Facebook and on their phones,” he said.

Officer Blackwell said during Trick-Or-Treating hours, all sex offenders in Bedford, on probation, will be in a designated place in town.

He said if they don’t arrive at their scheduled time, officers will be notified and will check to make sure they get to where they are supposed to be.

The same rules apply for sex offenders on probation across Indiana.

The State Department of Corrections has a program that requires offenders to attend a meeting on Halloween night.

Sex offenders not on probation are allowed to stay home, but they cannot put out decorations or pass out candy and must turn off their porch lights during the evening hours.

The IDOC said sex offenders could even face unannounced home visits and compliance checks on Halloween.

To check for sex offenders in your neighborhood, click here.


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