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Hillsborough Co. Sheriff's Office tracking sex offenders ahead of Halloween

Posted at 11:23 PM, Oct 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-31 05:49:34-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- Ahead of Halloween night, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is warning sex offenders of the rules they must follow while children are out trick-or-treating.

Sheriff Chad Chronister went door-to-door Wednesday night with fellow deputies and detectives to conduct dozens of compliance checks.

Are there sex offenders in your neighborhood? Use this map before trick-or-treating this Halloween

Registered sex offenders in Hillsborough County can not hand out candy, decorate for Halloween or leave their porch light on for the holiday.

"It’s important because it’s how we protect our children," said Sheriff Chronister. "They have to be reminded, they’re not afforded the opportunity or privilege to participate in any Halloween activities."

ABC Action News spoke with one mother who refuses to take her children trick-or-treating in her own neighborhood because it's too dangerous.

Carmen De Jesus, a mother of four, didn't know how to find the state's online registry of sex offenders until ABC Action News showed her.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, there are 174 sex offenders and predators living within a one-mile radius of De Jesus' home.

"Oh my God," said De Jesus. "I have to move out of this area. I didn't know there were so many around here."