California to round up transient sex offenders for Halloween night

A holiday centered on children going door to door and panhandling for candy in the dark could spell temptation for homeless sex offenders.

However, officers from California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation have on their superhero costumes. They will be rounding up about 500 transient paroled sex offenders, including about 40 in San Francisco, to spend 5 to 10 p.m. on Halloween evening in a designated location.

“We put these parameters in place so children have a safe experience trick-or-treating,” said Fred Bridgewater, a corrections spokesman. He declined to identify the location of the roundup center.

Twenty-one law enforcement officers will be working Operation Boo in the Peninsula, including 16 officers in San Francisco, Bridgewater said.

Jessica’s Law, which prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools or parks, has resulted in a huge increase in sex-offender homelessness. Since the law took effect, the number has increased from about 88 in 2007 to about 2,000 currently, according to The Associated Press.

Bridgewater said he does not anticipate difficulty getting transient sex offenders to show up to the roundup center — all registered sex offenders in the state are monitored by GPS tracking devices.

As part of the department’s 18th annual program, officers also will visit the residences of paroled sex offenders. By law, sex offenders with homes must stay inside their houses with the outdoor lights off on Halloween. They are prohibited from giving out candy to trick-or-treaters and from displaying Halloween decorations.

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation also is calling on parents to be more vigilant this Halloween. The agency put together an online guide for parents, available at www.cdcr.ca.gov.

sgantz@sfexaminer.com

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