Not all the scary creatures will be wearing costumes when area youngsters by the thousands go trick-or-treating this Halloween. A few of them will be handing out candy.
Scores of convicted sex offenders, many with records involving children, live in our area. While most seem to have served their time in prison and decided to follow a straight and narrow path in life, a few still may be threats.
Finding out whether any of them live in neighborhoods your children may visit on Halloween is not difficult. Internet registries in both West Virginia and Ohio provide information about sex offenders, including where they live and details about their crimes.
Belmont County Sheriff Dave Lucas has established a new website specifically for residents of his county. It can be accessed through the sheriff's main website, www.belmontsheriff.com.
Lucas' new sex offender registry site includes information on about 110 people who live in Belmont County. Users can go to the site, type in their addresses and, within seconds, learn names, addresses and other details of sex offenders living near them.
In addition, by registering on the site, Belmont County residents can be informed in the future if sex offenders move into their neighborhoods.
Lucas made it plain he unveiled the site in time to be of use by parents and guardians whose children will be going door-to-door on Halloween.
It is an excellent idea, for which the sheriff and his staff deserve to be commended.
But what if you don't live in Belmont County? Rest assured information on sex offenders in your area also is available through state websites in West Virginia and Ohio.
In West Virginia, the sex offender website is apps.wv.gov/StatePolice/SexOffender#Advanced. A county-by-county search can be conducted.
In Ohio, the sex offender website is www.icrimewatch.net/index.php?AgencyID=55149. There, too, a search by specific addresses can be made.
Again, most convicted sex offenders are not threats to the public. But for those who want to take no chances with their children's safety, the websites are excellent services.