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Family Watchdog
Pumpkin  Leaves are falling on the ground and pumpkin spice is filling the air. That can only mean one thing: Autumn is here. With the Fall fast approaching we wanted to highlight fall festivities such as Halloween and bonfires. Also in this issue - What to do when you have a sex offender in your neighborhood.

Are your children planning on Trick-or-Treating? Remember "SAFE HALLOWEEN"!

•  S - Swords, knives and similar accessories should be soft and flexible.
•  A - Avoid Trick-or-treating along. Always go with a trusted adult.
•  F - Fasten reflective tape to yourself and bags to help drivers see you.
•  E - Examine all treats before allowing kids to eat them. This allows the parents to get some treats in for themselves!

•  H - Hold a flashlight when out past dark. Never run from house to house, walk!
•  A - Always test make up in a small area to make sure there are no allergic reactions.
•  L - Look both ways when crossing the street. Use crosswalks when available.
•  L - Lower your risk of eye injuries by avoiding special contacts and masks that hang around the eye.
•  O - Only walk on sidewalks. If walking on the streets, stay on the far edge of the road facing traffic.
•  W - Wear proper fitting masks, shoes and costumes to avoid tripping and hurting yourself.
•  E - Eat only factory wrapped treats. Never eat homemade treats.
•  E - Enter homes only if your with a trusted adult. Only go to well lit houses. Never accept rides from strangers.
•  N - Never walk near flames and make sure your costume is fire resistant.

Please check our website for the neighborhood you plan on trick or treating.
www.familywatchdog.us

Make a list on offenders in the area. Write down the addresses and avoid those houses. Most states now do NOT allow offenders to participate in the activities. Please call your local authorities and verify that this is true in your area. If so, take your list. If you see a house that should not be participating, report it!

For more helpful information on everything Halloween, please visit www.halloween-safety.com
 
Fire  Are you planning on having a more low-key and more adult Halloween party? Maybe with a bonfire and child free? Please check with the above link and tell your guests to drive safely and follow other Halloween safety tips.
If you are planning a bonfire, don't forget to stay within the rules of your neighborhood. It is always a good idea to check with neighbors and let them know your plans. Make sure your bonfire is not under any trees or wires and always have a hose or bucket of water (or sand) nearby. For more information tips for bonfires visit http://www.life123.com/holidays/party-themes/bonfires/bonfire-tips.shtml
 
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Question  What do you do if a Registered Sex Offender moves into the neighborhood? What if you just found out your neighbor is a RSO? What do you do? Who do you call? And do you trust your children and family around the house?
You thought your neighborhood was pretty safe. Suddenly, your sense of security is shaken. Media stereotypes about people who sexually abuse children can make it all seem overwhelming. You neednít be overwhelmed. Start by learning the facts. Accurate information about the situation can help you turn fear into confidence that you really can keep your family safe. Here are some other things you can do to help make you feel secure again.

•  Call your local police and get details of the crime if available. If the crime is old and the offender has not re-committed, they may be considered "low risk".
•  Do not panic because your neighbor is a RSO, many sex offenders have not been caught and are still out there at large. Please keep this in mind and treat all strangers the same if they were RSOs. And please remember not all RSOs are dangerous and gross people. Some get the short end of the stick in court and are required to register even if they are not guilty of the crime (plea deals).
•  Teach your children to never talk to strangers. Teach them the difference between a good touch (example: hugs) and a bad touch. Show them the photo on our site and make sure they stay away. Teach them the term of "Stranger Danger!".
•  Tell your neighbors and local school officials. Attend any Neighborhood or Public Community Meeting.
•  Do everything in your power to get to know the crime committed and how to stay safe. Call the police and ask advice if you need to. You can check and see if you should post signs around the neighborhood, but please remember, this could be harassment. Some RSOs are just trying to get back into the swing of things and be a normal citizen.

Do you approach your neighbor and tell them you know who they are or the crimes they committed? We asked our local sheriff for some advice on this one. He replied, "Don't approach and stay clear of offenders. It does nobody any good to make any contact. Offenders are just trying to get on with their lives. Obviously, do not allow them to babysit your children or have any unwanted contact with them. If you want further information, try contacting the local clerks office. Most states you can get a print out with complete crime details."

Please remember, sex offender are people too. We do not condone in harassment in any sort. Awareness is your best defense. For more great information on this topic, please visit http://www.stopitnow.org/sex_offender_in_neighborhood_concerns
 
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Halloween  We hope you have a great begining to your fall. Don't forget to visit us at www.familywatchdog.us and check us out on facebook for news, tips and frequently asked questions.

We now offer free brochures for you to print out and post around schools and the office. Please e-mail Jane at Jane@familywatchdog.us for more information.
 

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