Howard County police are preparing for Halloween and offering tips for parents to ensure a safe, fun night for all. Investigators recently conducted an annual compliance check of all registered sex offenders to ensure parents have up-to-date information available.
Detectives accounted for all 123 registered sex offenders in Howard County; all were found to be in compliance and were reminded of restrictions regarding interaction with children, as appropriate. Parents who want to be aware of offenders’ residences when mapping out their trick-or-treat route can check the Maryland Sex Offender Registry.
Officers will be alert for vandalism, theft and destruction of property. They will conduct speed enforcement activities and be on the lookout for drunk or impaired drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly half of all crash fatalities on Halloween night in recent years involved a drunk driver.
Police offer the following tips to parents, drivers:
- Encourage children to trick-or-treat with a group, and before dark. After dark, an adult chaperone should carry a flashlight and choose well-lighted streets.
- Wear costumes that are short, snug and flame retardant; wear light colors or reflective tape; avoid masks that can obstruct vision.
- Teach children they should NEVER go inside a stranger’s home or car.
- Remind children not to eat treats before they have been inspected by parents; never eat candy that has been opened.
- Tell trick-or-treaters not to take shortcuts through backyards, alleys or playing fields.
- Don’t allow children to approach homes that are dark.
- Drive slowly all evening – you never know when a trick-or-treater may dart into the street.
- If you’re handing out candy, turn on outside lights and remove objects from your yard that might present a hazard.