As Halloween approaches, Benton Police Department wants you and your family to be in the know regarding the best safety protocol before, during and after trick-or-treating—and that includes knowing your surroundings and avoiding sex offender residences.
“It’s not a topic people like to discuss, but it’s a necessary one,” said BNPD Chief Scotty Hodges, “especially since the legislature passed the law prohibiting specific registered offenders from participating in certain Halloween-related activities. One of our top priorities is ensuring sex offenders are living where they tell us and making that information readily available to the public on our website.”
He added that residents are encouraged to check any addresses and the surrounding areas where they plan to spend time trick-or-treating.
“The mapping and address feature found on the website pinpoints where an offender lives. We want to make clear that this is not intended as an attack against those individuals who are doing what they should be doing- registering, updating as required, etc., but we do want residents to understand there are real risks when it comes to going door-to-door trick-or-treating.”
The BNPD website is updated with offender information as soon as a new offender has registered. This information is available at bentonpolice.org/divisions/cid/sexoffendermap.
Hodges encourages everyone to remember other common-sense safety tips as well, such as wearing reflective costumes or tape, carrying a flashlight and cell phone, not assuming the right-of-way and staying on sidewalks when available, as well as accompanying younger children at all times and reviewing routes with older children.
“Above all else,” he said, “make sure kids know what to do in an emergency, and never hesitate to report suspicious and/or illegal activity. BNPD hopes everyone has a fun and safe Halloween, and as always, call us if you need us because we’re always here for you.”
For more information regarding the sex offender registry or how to access the information on the BNPD website, call 501-776-5947. For general BNPD inquiries, call 501-776-5948, or visit www.bentonpolice.org or download the BNPD app available on iTunes and Google Play.