JOPLIN, Mo. — Safety is the last thing on a child’s mind when they’re out trick or treating, but it’s just the opposite for parents. Which is why you might want to look at a map of where they plan on going.

One of the keys to keeping your little ghost or goblin safe is to be with them anywhere they go on Halloween night. In fact, it might be a good idea to check the Missouri Highway Patrol’s sex offender registry on a regular basis, especially this time of year.

“If you have a particular neighborhood that you’re looking to go to, you can always research that area online ahead of time, so that way if there is maybe a sex offender that lives in that area, you know what places to obviously avoid,” said William Davis, Captain, Joplin Police Department.

It can be shocking to learn there are one or more sex offenders in the neighborhood. Officers with area law enforcement agencies usually check more than just at Halloween to make sure they are avoiding interactions with children.

“Generally, each year, whenever our officers and investigators go out and do the Halloween checks for the registered sex offenders, you usually have a good success rate of compliance,” said Davis.

Contrary to what you might think, there is no standard sign sex offenders have to post on their property on Halloween, but he says they do have to come up with one on their own.

“Yes, the police department doesn’t hand out the sign; they just have to have a sign that no Halloween activities are taking place at that residence,” said Davis.

If you’d like to see the map of registered sex offenders in Southwest Missouri, click the link, here.