CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Halloween is a sweet holiday. But sometimes it can leave a sour taste for law enforcement.
“I have two boys,” said Maria Sevigny. “Once the sun goes down, we all go trick-or-treating.”
Mecklenburg County Sheriff Irwin Carmichael has a simple message for parents this Halloween.
“Go ahead and do your homework,” Carmichael said. “Utilize the website. Utilize technology. You’re going to know their exact location.
The sheriff is talking about the 1,068 registered sex offenders in Mecklenburg County.
To help everyone avoid a real-life Halloween horror story, NBC Charlotte scoured through county data, locating the top three zip codes with the most offenders.
Zip code 28028 finished first. That’s in west Charlotte, where 99 people on the sex offender registry live in that zip code.
Number two is right next door, where 28216 checked in with 81 registered sex offenders on the list.
And third, neighborhoods in 28269, in the university area, are home to 79 current registered sex offenders.
“There’s a sex offender in the neighborhood, at least according to the list,” said Cliff Kenyon. “So, we noted that in our heads, I guess, and at least know where they are and potentially what they look like.”
From now until Halloween, deputies are going door to door, tracking down all 1,068 sex offenders.
“What they’re going to do, is they’re going to go up and truly verify that they live at the address,” Carmichael said.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are playing a part, too. They’re encouraging parents to use the Next Door app, which also tells you where sex offenders live, using a Halloween-themed icon.
“The candy corn is specifically where people said they are handing out candy,” said CMPD officer Chris Kopp.
And, believe it or not, unless a sex offender is under a court order prohibiting contact with children, handing out candy is 100-percent legal.
“They have every right to leave the lights on and they can give out candy,” Carmichael said. “But that’s why I always say utilize technology.”