Probation Officers make sure it is “Lights Out” for Sex offenders on Halloween
Probation Officers in Boston, Brockton, Fall River, Springfield, and Worcester are teaming up with local police on Halloween night to make unannounced visits to sex offenders as part of the Probation-established “Operation Lights Out” initiative. Their goal is to ensure that sex offenders will not open their doors to trick or treaters, distribute candy, display décor, or turn their porch or outside house lights on to attract children to their homes. There are approximately 848 sex offenders under probation supervision statewide.
During the visits, the probation officers—equipped with packets including probationers’ criminal record information, conditions of probation and photos—will verify offenders’ current addresses and confirm that they were in compliance with their probation conditions.
Prior to their visits, Probation Officers sent letters to the offenders advising them to not leave their homes Halloween night. These probationers are also told not to open their doors or display Halloween decorations. This message was reiterated in face-to-face meetings between Probation Officers and probationers prior to the holiday.
“This public safety initiative is very important for communities across the Commonwealth. The purpose of this is to make sure that these high-risk offenders are abiding by the conditions of their probation which includes a no contact order with children,” said Probation Commissioner Edward J. Dolan.
Probation’s Operation Lights Out was first introduced in Fall River by Probation Officer Michael Borden after he read about a similar effort in the Midwest.
“When we first started this initiative more than a decade ago, I thought it would be important to keep closer track of these probationers on a night that is a special holiday for children. Operation Lights Out gives us the opportunity to collaborate with local law enforcement in keeping children safe.”