Ocean County Press Release
TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR KIDS AND MAKE HALLOWEEN NOT SO SCARY

Ocean County, N.J. - With Halloween approaching at the end of the month, the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor and Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari are reminding parents and their costumed kids in search of treats about some important safety precautions. Halloween offers special challenges for parents, drivers and children.

"Ocean County is home to approximately 750 registered sex offenders, and we want you to know where they reside so that you avoid those houses when trick-or-treating," said Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato.

Vicari encouraged residents to visit the Meghan's Law Website, accessible through the Ocean County Government Homepage at www.co.ocean.nj.us, for the most up-to-date information on local sex offenders. 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.

"This only takes a few minutes and can make a big difference in keeping a child safe," Vicari said.

The site can also be accessed directly through the New Jersey State Police website www.njsp.org

"We do the best we can in making sure sex offenders live where they tell us, so it is crucial that our citizens visit the, to see who the registered sex offenders are and where they are living," Coronato said.

You will also find many other beneficial tools such as the ability to sign up for FREE automatic email notifications informing you if an offender moves within a specified radius of any address you register. "If you aren't planning on trick-or-treating in your neighborhood, but will be in a family or friend's neighborhood, register their address beforehand so you know which houses to avoid. You can register any and all of the addresses where your children spend a lot of time; for example friend's, grandparents, or babysitter's addresses," Prosecutor Coronato said. The alerts are in real-time and sent out via e-mail as soon as a new offender has registered with their municipal police department. Prosecutor Coronato says, "The benefit of registering for this free confidential e-mail alert service is that it allows us to monitor your important addresses for you, thereby keeping you up to date of newly registered offenders and making it unnecessary for you to have to check your important addresses daily or even weekly".

Prosecutor Coronato and Freeholder Director Vicari encouraged everyone to have a fun and safe Halloween. Knowledge is power and knowing where the registered sex offenders reside in your area can help you make the best choices for safe and enjoyable Halloween activities. For further information, please call the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office Megan's Law Unit at 732-929-2027.


Finally, here are some Prosecutor's Office safety tips to help make the 2017 Halloween holiday safe and enjoyable for everyone:

TRICK-OR-TREATERS
Consider using make-up rather than masks. Masks may obstruct a child's vision making it difficult for them to see oncoming traffic. MORE….

Wear light-colored clothing or add reflective tape to darker costumes. Always carry a flashlight at night. Inexpensive battery - operated strobe lights are now sold in many drug stores and convenience stores.

An adult should always accompany small children when they are out trick-or-treating. Older children should travel in groups for their safety.

Make sure trick-or-treaters know to only approach familiar houses that have outside lights on and NEVER ENTER A STRANGER'S HOUSE OR VEHICLE.

The best advice: Trick-or-treat in daylight hours.

DRIVERS
Stay alert at all times for young children who may dart in front of your vehicle unexpectedly. In the excitement of the day, trick-or-treaters probably won't be paying attention to passing motor vehicles, so slow down and drive cautiously.

If you attend a Halloween party where alcohol is served, make sure you have a designated driver for the trip home. Alcohol, even in small amounts, slows reaction time and dulls the senses. With small children running from house to house, driving while under the influence can have a deadly result.

If you are transporting trick-or-treaters, remember that seat belt laws are not a burden, but a proven lifesaving measure. Costume or not, buckle up!

TREATS
Consider handing out something other than candy - fast food coupons, pens, sports cards...

All opened candy should be thrown out. Make your own trick-or-treaters wait until they return home, and you have examined their goodies, before they sample any treats. It is sad to think people may tamper with food and candy given to children, but better safe than sorry.

Halloween isn't just for kids. Spend quality time with your children by trick-or-treating with them - it is not only safer for them to walk with an adult, but it also can be a lot of fun for you. The Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor believes there is nothing more important than the safety and care of children. Please consider these suggestions and have a safe and happy Halloween.

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