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Riverside County Mulls Ban On Halloween Lights, Decorations For Sex Offenders

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textalerts180 Riverside County Mulls Ban On Halloween Lights, Decorations For Sex Offenders

RIVERSIDE (CBS) — The Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday is set to consider a measure that would prohibit convicted sex offenders from handing out candy or taking part in any other activity that might attract children to their homes on Halloween.

As part of a strategy to enhance protections for children trick-or-treating, Supervisor Jeff Stone is seeking a revision to the county’s anti-loitering law that would impose additional restrictions on registered sex offenders who reside in unincorporated communities.

Under the supervisor’s proposed “time, place and manner” provisions, which would take effect immediately if approved by a majority of board members, any registered sex offender would be prohibit any Halloween decorations on his or her residence between midnight and 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 31; any exterior or ornamental lights turned on between 5 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Halloween; and answering the door to trick-or-treaters.

“Sex offenders pose an immediate threat to children trick-or-treating on Halloween because children often will engage a disproportionate number of complete strangers as part of their door-to-door activities,” an introduction to Stone’s proposal states.

The new provisions would be incorporated into an anti-loitering ordinance approved by the board last year, which makes it a misdemeanor crime for a convicted sex offender to be within 300 feet of a day care center, library, park, playground, public swimming pool, school or anywhere else that provides “classes or group activities for children.” It also prohibits a registrant from residing within 2,000 feet of a school, park or other facility catering to kids.

Violators could be subject to fines of $1,000 or more and face up to six months in jail.

According to Stone, the amended ordinance would replicate measures passed in the cities of San Jacinto and Orange.

Roughly 3,500 sex registrants reside in Riverside County, though many of them live in municipalities not under county jurisdiction.

California law requires anyone convicted of a felony sex offense to register with a local law enforcement agency when moving into an area. The law also requires that registrants alert authorities whenever they change residence, and that they annually renew their registration.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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