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Online tool can help parents decide what houses to avoid for trick-or-treating

Posted at 12:29 PM, Oct 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-30 14:29:32-04

BOZEMAN - Halloween is typically a fun time for kids, as it should be. But as a parent, do you have concerns about who’s behind the door of the house where your kid is trick or treating?

“We’re going to go over to the Story Mansion about for an hour and maybe go trick or treating for maybe two hours,” said Bozeman resident Amos Smith.

Seven-year-old Amos is ready for Halloween.

“We are going to go trick or treating at a friend’s house, ah like a bunch of different neighborhoods,” Amos added.

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Even though children may not be concerned with whose door they’re knocking on, many parents would want to avoid knocking at a sex offender’s door on Halloween.

“We’re constantly - between those letters that the state sends and then our own going out and knocking on doors and stuff - we’re always throughout the year making sure that the people are where they’re supposed to be,” said Bozeman Police Department Detective David Ferguson.

And the best thing for parents is preparation, so they can also know what houses to potentially avoid.

“The website is super easy to use," said Ferguson. "Basically it’ll have a whole map of Montana, and on the right-hand side, there will be a drop-down menu. You can choose what to search for, the type of offender. And then you can pick your city. Pick Bozeman, and then it’ll show you a map of Bozeman, and then it’ll put a little pin next to where anyone lives.”

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Even though children may not be concerned with whose door they’re knocking on, many parents would want to avoid knocking at a sex offender’s door on Halloween.

But Detective Ferguson was clear in most cases, sex offenders are generally not waiting to snatch up the next trick-or-treater.

“Most of the people that end up committing an offense that requires them to register - the person that they offend on is someone known to them. Most of the people that are on the sex offender registry were like an uncle or a boyfriend or a coach.”

Many children will leave the preparations for Halloween to their parents, and instead, be thinking about the candy they want the most.

“I think… Reese pieces,” said Amos.

Click here to access the Montana Sexual or Violent Offender Registry.