Help your trick-or-treaters steer clear of sex offenders this Halloween

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It's an old rule, but one authorities say trick-or-treaters should still abide by: Stay clear of homes with the lights off.

Authorities say those dark porches might mean something other than someone who doesn't celebrate Halloween.

"Don’t send your child out up there to knock on that door," Alachua County Sheriff's Sgt. Chris Sims said. "It may be for the reasons of that we’ve identified them as a sex offender or sex predator and told them they are not welcome to accept young children.”

Halloween brings special duties to law enforcement. Deputies make their rounds to homes with sex offenders and check to see they are not interacting with the children.

"We’re going to walk up to the door, we’re going to make sure their light is off, they are not accepting children and 9 times out of 10 we receive no push back," Sims said.

Authorities advise all children under 12 should trick or treat with an adult. Those older than 12 should always go with a group.

“Walking up to the house, we’re going to make sure we can see them walk up to the door," parent Amy Davenport said.

"We’re definitely in clear eyesight the whole time," friend Hannah West said.

“We’re going to make sure they don’t go with a stranger so a stranger doesn’t get that much closer to them," parent Maulik Dhruv said.

You can search sex offenders in your area at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website.

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