Area police have warned registered sex offenders that Halloween is not a night for celebration for them-- rather, they're advised to stay in, turn off the lights, and not answer the door to trick-or-treaters.
In fact, the cities of Calimesa and San Jacinto have laws that require certain actions to this end.
According to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, which sent out a media advisory to remind people of a new ordinance for Calimesa that was passed in September, registered offenders living in that city must: (between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on October 31)
- Be prohibited from decorating the dwelling in which the sex offender resides with Halloween decorations, and shall remove any such decorations; and
- During the evening hours starting at 4:00 p.m. until 11:59 p.m., leave all exterior residential, decorative and ornamental lighting off at the dwelling in which the sex offender resides, excluding exterior safety or security lighting; and
- Be prohibited from answering the door of the dwelling in which the sex offender resides to children who are trick-or-treating.
"The Calimesa Police Department will provide as much law enforcement presence as practical during Halloween to help protect our children as they enjoy the trick-or-treating festivities," Sheriff's Sergeant Joe Borja said. "We urge parents and responsible adults to partner with us to watch over some of our most vulnerable members of the community; our children."
Borja said that those found in violation of this ordinance, City Ordinance No. 323, could be fined up to $1,000 and be sent to jail for up to six months.
Over in San Jacinto, registered offenders must abide by nearly the same rules according to City Ordinance No. 9.30.030, passed in Jan. 2011, according to Sgt. Borja. The main difference for that city, is "evening hours" was defined as beginning at 5 p.m.
As for Beaumont, the city does not have a law specifically restricting Halloween activity of sex offenders, but the department did advise those registered in the area to stay in by giving them a flyer with guidelines.
"The Beaumont Police Department is providing this flyer to assist you in avoiding any controversy or accusations on Halloween, and to ensure compliance with your terms and conditions," the document reads.
It also states:
- Do not attract children to your residence by displaying attractive decorations
- Keep your outside lights off to show you are not participating in Halloween
- Officers will be actively patrolling your neighborhoods to ensure you are in compliance with your terms and conditions
- You might consider staying with family or friends so you have support accounts of your whereabouts for the evening.
The city of Banning does not have an ordinance, either, and police did not hand anything out.
Find Out if a Registered Offender Lives Near You
You can easily find out if a registered sex offender lives in your neighborhood, through the California Megan's Law website. Access that by clicking here.
According to the site, the cities mentioned above (and some surrounding cities) have the following amount of registered sex offenders:
- Beaumont: 28
- Banning: 28
- Calimesa: 13
- San Jacinto: 82
- Cabazon: 18