TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today issued a consumer advisory with tips for enjoying a safe Halloween, encouraging parents to exercise caution and talk with their children about staying safe.
Halloween can be a safe and fun holiday for children and families, but the Attorney General urged parents and children alike to be careful amid
reports of candy-flavored drugs and the potential for encountering a
registered sex offender or predator while trick-or-treating. Attorney
General McCollum also reminded parents and children to report any
suspicious activity to local law enforcement, and to use tools provided by the authorities to have a safer holiday.
Federal and state law enforcement agencies have reported that flavored drugs, particularly methamphetamines, heroin and marijuana, are circulating throughout the United States and could be ingested by
unsuspecting children. Law enforcement information reports that
candy-flavored methamphetamine can be mistaken for candy pop rocks.
Additional reports of gumballs filled with marijuana and narcotics
packaged or disguised as candy or other more enticing objects should be considered serious threats to children.
Parents should be advised to check their children's candy for anything
which may resemble one of these new drug forms and children should turn over any in their possession to their parents, teacher, principal, or
school resource officer. Parents should also encourage their children to avoid any participation in distributing or using the drugs, no matter how harmless they may seem, and report any suspicious activity to the
appropriate authorities or a trusted adult.
Attorney General McCollum also encouraged families to visit the Florida
Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)’s sex offender tracking website, http://www.flsexoffender.net, before heading out for trick-or-treating.
The “Offender Search” button at the top of the website allows users to
enter any Florida address and obtain a list of all registered sex
offenders and predators living within a one-quarter to five-mile radius.
Families may also sign up for the Florida Offender Alert System by
clicking the “Offender Alert” button at the top of the web page. The
system sends e-mail alert notifications when registered sexual offenders or predators move into a neighborhood or any other location you designate.
FDLE developed the Offender Alert System at the direction of the Florida Legislature as part of the state’s compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Act. Citizens may select an unlimited number of addresses and/or offenders and predators to track, and can update their selections at any time. The alert system will send e-mail notifications within 24 to 48 hours of an address change to the state’s registry. There are more than 48,000 registered sexual offenders and predators in the Florida Sex Offender Registry.
The Florida Offender Alert System is offered through FDLE’s web site and on many local law enforcement agencies’ web sites throughout the state.