'Operation Blackout' to protect children from sex offenders - WNEM TV 5

'Operation Blackout' to protect children from sex offenders

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(WMC-TV) - This Halloween, thousands of children will take the streets and their safety is key. If the Tennessee Department of Corrections has anything to do with it, sex offenders will not be anywhere near them.

No candy, costumes, decorations, or front porch lights are only a few of the rules given to sex offenders on Halloween for Operation Blackout.

Safety is always top of mind for parents this time of year.

"All our children should be kept safe, not just mine, but everybody's," stated mother Adrinne Akpan.

This is why hundreds of families flocked to trunk or treat at the Highland Church of Christ Sunday night.

"This is so much easier and more fun. We're members here at Highland Church of Christ and we love coming to trunk or treat," stated mother Anna Fagala.

Fagala and her family, dressed as three little pigs and the big bad wolf, are making events like the one at Highland Church of Christ the new norm.

"I think that, over the years, trick or treating in neighborhoods has kind of gone by the wayside because of safety issues," explained Fagala.

But, this 2013 year, law enforcement is taking notice and cracking down on sex offenders. The department of correction is teaming up with other agencies and the US Marshals to keep your kids safe.

"Well, we might go trick or treating after all. We've never done it before," said Akpan.

Law enforcement officials will make random visits to make sure sex offenders are following strict guidelines. They include the following:

  • Remain inside home between hours of 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
  • Leave porch lights off on Halloween night
  • Do not open doors for trick-or-treaters
  • Only open doors for law enforcement officers
  • Do not display fall decorations, wear costumes, or dress in disguises

"Maybe foster a new time of people to maybe go trick or treating in their neighborhoods again. (It) was always fun when I was a kid," exclaimed Fagala.

Many residents are hoping extra enforcement will be the trick to making this holiday a treat.

The Department of Correction is warning sex offenders, if any of these rules are violated, they could face more charges.

However, TDOC officials are asking for your help as well. If you see anything suspicious, report it immediately.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. 

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