SAN ANTONIO – You may not know it, but a registered sex offender might be on your trick-or-treating route on Halloween night.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, there are roughly 4,000 registered sex offenders in Bexar County.
While that number may seem high, it’s important to keep in mind that their crimes vary and so do their risk factors. Many have already served their sentence but are still required to register as sex offenders as required by law.
Bexar County’s Adult Probation Department plans training sessions on Halloween night to keep sex offenders who have the highest risk factors and are still on probation off the street.
This year will mark the 10th year the department has planned the training session, which keeps 650 sex offenders occupied while your children are trick-or-treating.
Shannon Jones, the supervisor of the department’s sex offender management unit, said the Halloween plan is a win-win situation.
They said it gives parents the peace of mind of an added layer of safety, while giving the offenders a chance to earn community service hours and learn about any legislative changes that may affect them.
"At the end of the day, if it is extra insulation that makes our community safe, then we'll do it," Jones said.
Jones said she wants the public to know that her department is not just concerned with public safety during Halloween, though.
"What we like to point out is: We are as intrusive on Nov. 1 and Oct. 30 as Halloween," Jones said. "We want to know what (offenders on probation) are doing all the time."
When it comes down to it, though, the best piece of advice is to physically be with your children as they trick or treat to keep them safe.
"When our kids are excited, they're not paying attention and their boundaries are down," Jones said. "It's not just another human that can hurt them. It can be cars in the streets. It could be a dog. You need to be with your children."
To view the state’s public sex offender registry, click here.