Halloween is a time to hit the neighborhoods in search of treats, but a few Park Ridge residents are being told to ignore the frequent chimes of the doorbell.
In preparation for Halloween, the Park Ridge Police Department is checking in with registered sex offenders living in the community, reminding them that under state law they are prohibited from handing out candy, dressing in costume or having any kind of interaction with children.
Park Ridge Police Detective John Dorner is one of two officers who keep tabs on the city’s registered sex offenders, making sure they are compliant with the law and re-register at the police station when they are required, either annually or semi-annually. In addition to reregistration, the officers conduct compliance checks with the individuals three times per year: before Halloween, Easter and at a time that is unannounced.
“The three we do (have) are not required by law and we could do more, but we go beyond what we’re supposed to do because we want to stay on top of it,” Dorner said.
According to the Illinois State Police Sex Offender registry, there are currently three registered sex offenders residing in Park Ridge; another three have addresses in Park Ridge but are in police custody.
One offender still living in Park Ridge lives at 732 N. Delphia Ave., another lives at 1003 S. Peale St. and the third lives at 229 East Ave. The offenders living on Peale and East have been labeled sexual predators. Additional information about them can be obtained at www.isp.state.il.us/sor.
In neighboring unincorporated Maine Township there are 11 registered sex offenders, according to the Illinois State Police.
Among the laws they are required to follow, registered sex offenders cannot live within 500 feet of schools, parks or daycare centers and they must report every vehicle they own to the Park Ridge Police Department. One registered offender moved from the city earlier this year when police informed him that under the new 500-feet law which went into effect in 2013, he was in violation based on the location of his home. He ended up moving to Chicago, Dorner said.
Police learned another registered offender had violated the law when he was arrested in another community driving a vehicle he had not registered with the Park Ridge police, Dorner said.
For the most part, though, there have not been major problems with the city’s registered sex offenders complying with the law, according to Dorner. He attributed that to the department’s frequent monitoring, but says citizens can also play a part.
“People need to be aware of who is in their area,” Dorner said. “I’m not saying these offenders are doing crimes or anything, but I think people should be and need to be aware of who lives in their area, regardless of whether they are a sex offender. Our job is made easier if we have citizens cooperating with us.”