Project Lights Out Keeps Trick or Treaters Safe - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/30/04

Project Lights Out Keeps Trick or Treaters Safe

In less than 24 hours, children around Lubbock County will soon be able to satisfy their cravings for sugar. Before you hit the streets on Halloween night though, the Community Supervision and Corrections Department as well as the Lubbock Police Department want you to know of some houses you should avoid.

"On Halloween, we coordinate all our efforts and focus specifically on sex offenders just because of the nature of the crime and the kids that are going to be out there on the streets," says Farrell Martin, probation officer.

It's known as Project Lights Out because starting Sunday at 6 p.m. registered sex offenders have to be inside their home. The blinds must be down and all lights need to be out. If trick or treaters still come to the door, under no circumstances can they answer it. Law enforcement officials say sex offenders can even expect surprise visits where they live.

"We'll do a lot of drive by's. We'll knock on their door, we'll make phone calls, but we should be saturated throughout the community to make sure that these folks are in compliance with their condition. Just because you're a registered sex offender and you don't get an officer knocking on your door doesn't mean we're not watching," says Martin.

If caught violating the rules on Halloween night, a sex offender can expect to suffer a variety of consequences. The penalties range from a minimum of performing community service to a maximum punishment of jail time.

"Bottom line is we want to know where they're at. We want to make sure we're not exposing them to any children or the general public putting anybody at unnecessary risk," says Martin.

Law enforcement officials want to make it clear because a front porch light is off does not necessarily mean than person is a sex offender. They still recommend avoiding houses that are not lit up.

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