Sheriff Russell urges parents to check sex offender registry before Halloween
Did you know according to statistics from the Department of Justice and Watch Systems LLC, an estimated 80% of all addresses have at least one sex offender within one mile? Forty-five percent of sexual assault victims are under twelve, and 75% of victims know their attacker. Over half of all sexual assaults occur within one mile of the victim’s home. Did you know currently there are 338 sex offenders in Ouachita Parish?
So before your children Trick-or-Treat this Halloween, Sheriff Russell wants parents to have real-time access to sex offenders in your area.
“We do our best to ensure sex offenders live where they tell us, but it is up to our citizens to utilize these online tools to see who the registered sex offenders are and where they are living,” says Sheriff Russell.
It is critical that you “Know Before You Go” this Halloween.” Sheriff Russell advises parents to go to the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office website at www.opso.net and click the Sex Offender tab or go to the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association website at www.lsa.org and click on the Public Resources, Sex Offender Tracking tab. Parents can quickly search for offenders in their area using the statewide database. Simply enter your home address to view a printable map of your neighborhood and any offenders in the surrounding area.
While you are on the website, Sheriff Russell encourages you to take one extra step and register for the site’s free e-mail alerts. “You can enter your home, school, grandparents’ addresses to receive real-time e-mail notifications any time an offender moves within one mile of any address you register,” says Sheriff Russell.
“If you aren’t planning on Trick-or-Treating in your own neighborhood, but will be in a different neighborhood, register that address beforehand so you know which houses to avoid,” says Sheriff Russell. The alerts are in real-time and sent out via email as soon as an offender has registered with the Sheriff’s Office or other police department.
There is no cost of this service to the public, and no limit to the number of addresses you can register. Your email address and physical addresses are all confidential.
With these resources available, Sheriff Russell says parents can feel confident that they are armed with the necessary tools to keep their children safe this Halloween.
If you have any questions, or need further help regarding the sex offender registry, contact the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Investigative Division at@ 318-329-1200 or Lauren Meher, Communications Director of the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association at 225.383.2871.