Ocean County officials are urging parents to check to the state sex offender registry before their children embark on a trick-or-treating outing for Halloween this year.
“This only takes a few minutes and can make a big difference in keeping a child safe,” Freeholder Director Joseph Vicari said.
New Jersey’s sex offender registry, set up under what is commonly known as Meghan’s Law, is run by the state police. The database lists up-to-date information on all convicted sex offenders who are residents of the Garden State, and towns, counties, ZIP codes and even individual streets can be easily reviewed. More advanced checks allow users to input the names of convicted sex offenders or check only newer records.
A check of the database on Thursday showed 288 sex offenders living in Ocean County known by 863 names.
Halloween is also a good time to talk to children about what they should if they’re ever approached by a stranger.
If a child is approached by an adult in a car who they don’t know, they should be taught to run the opposite way – towards the rear of the car, according to county law enforcement officials. This way, the driver will have to first turn around before they can pursue the child.
The sex offender registry can be accessed from the New Jersey State Police website.