With the Halloween season upon us, the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office urges parents to use online tools to know the identity of registered sex offenders in the area where they plan to trick-or-treat.

An online sex offender registry is available for residents of La Porte County, allowing parents to conduct a search before trick-or-treating to prevent their children from visiting the home of a registered sex offender during door-to-door trick-or-treating.

There are currently about 206 registered sex offenders residing in La Porte County. According to the United States Department of Justice, 80% of all addresses have at least one sex offender living within one mile. 45% of sexual assault victims are under 12, and 75% of victims know their attacker. Over half of all sexual assaults occur within one mile of the victim’s home.

Sheriff Ron Heeg states, “The La Porte County Sheriff’s Office does an excellent job of ensuring that sex offenders reside where they have registered their home addresses, so it is crucial that our citizens visit our website to learn who the registered sex offenders are in our community and where they live.” Sheriff Heeg continued, “A unique feature to this OffenderWatch system is the ability to enter an address of a neighborhood that you plan on visiting, before heading out for trick-or-treating, and determine the address you plan to avoid. We urge the public to be proactive and utilize this free tool to help keep your children and family safer this Halloween season.”

The La Porte County Sheriff’s Office, as well as all of Indiana’s Sheriffs, utilize OffenderWatch Sex Offender Management System to manage and monitor the whereabouts of these convicted offenders. The site can be accessed through the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office website by visiting www.laportecountysheriff.com. Once at the website, information about specific offenders can be obtained by entering the offender’s name or searching for potential offenders within a specified radius of any address of interest. Address radiuses of 1/4, 1/2, 1, or 2 miles can be checked for potential offenders.

The Sheriff’s Office encourages the public to utilize these tools to help ensure the safety of children this Halloween season.

Specific questions regarding the Sex and Violent Offender Registry can be directed to the Registry’s Coordinator, Lisa Harlow, at (219) 326-7700 or (219) 879-3530 ext. 2320.