Monday, October 22, 2012

halloween, a time for scaring people

Halloween lovers like a good scare and what could be scarier than sex offenders? Law enforcement across the country enjoy the chance to pull out all the stops to protect the children.

How effective is all the extra work of going to the home of each sex offender to make sure each one is behaving? As effective as not doing it at all. Does it accomplish anything?
Lisa Sample, Ph.D., a professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, says these stunts do have one effect: They increase fear in the public.
Nebraskans Unafraid sent a letter to news media, asking them not to fall for the elaborate trick law enforcement perpetrates each year:
“This study found no significant increase in risk for non-familial child sexual abuse on or around Halloween.” ...  The study spanned nine years of data, 1997-2005. The researchers said that “Halloween” policies (such as the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office sex-offender publicity stunt) have no impact on crime. Quoting the researchers: 
“The most common types of crime from among the incidents reported on Halloween and adjacent days were theft (32%), destruction or vandalism of property (21%), assault (19%) and burglary (9%).  Vandalism and property destruction accounted for a greater proportion of crime around Halloween compared to other days of the year (21% vs. 14% of all reports).  Sex crimes of all types accounted for slightly over 1% of all Halloween crime. Non-familial sex crimes against children age 12 and under accounted for less than two-tenths of 1 percent of all Halloween crime incidents.” 
When you see law enforcement stop at the home of the neighborhood sex offender simply to harrass him and to use him as a means to frighten parents and to burnish the image of cops as protectors, don't fall for it.