Nearly 1,000 sex offenders checked on Halloween night in Tennessee

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Tennessee Department of Corrections checked 845 sex offenders statewide on Halloween, 74 of those in Knoxville.

As part of TDOC’s Operation Blackout, TDOC Officers check to ensure registered sex offenders are abiding by rules set ahead of the holiday.

Operation Blackout is designed to increase the safety of trick-or-treaters by giving sex offenders under TDOC supervision an additional layer of safety, according to TDOC.

According to TDOC, the state-wide Operation Blackout Pre-Halloween checks yielded 12 arrests.  In Knoxville, there was one arrest for an offender living at an unregistered address.

Parents trick-or-treating with their children in Knoxville say safety is their first concern when taking their children out on Halloween.

“We talked to them about not opening the candy before we inspect it, there’s also police officers in the neighborhood too. We have glowing bracelets so they can be seen,” said Michelle Tipton, a parent of two.

Tipton says her family goes out in their neighborhood, so they know their neighbors, but that she still stays close to her kids going door-to-door.

During Halloween sex offenders under TDOC supervision are informed of a very specific set of rules they must follow. Those include:

• Being in their homes by 6 p.m.

• Not having any Halloween decorations.

• Keeping their porch light off.

• Not distributing Halloween candy.

• Not attending any Halloween functions (Hallelujah Night, Harvest Festivals, etc.).

Checks like these happen year-round. Decorations for other holidays are allowed to be displayed at offenders’ homes, according to TDOC, because children are not commonly walking to homes during other holidays.