MECKLENBURG COUNTY, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - Mecklenburg County Sheriff, Irwin Carmichael, said Operation Watchful Eye has been effective since it was started in 2005. It’s a program where deputies and neighboring agencies check on registered sex offenders on and during the Halloween holiday.
“Parents have enough to worry about,” Carmichael said. “We want to make sure we know where they are [sex offenders]. If we know where they are, you know where they are and parents can feel safe, the citizens can feel safe.”
Carmichael told Fox 46 Charlotte that parents should pre-plan their Halloween night by using free online/application resources to locate offenders on their trick-or-treating routes. He said if an offender is not on probation, there aren’t laws restricting him/her from participating in Halloween—including passing out candy to kids.
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Fox 46 Charlotte rode around with a deputy who is responsible for checking in with offenders year round, including this Halloween operation. Deputy C. Thompson said he has a list of 63 offenders that he makes in-person checks with, regularly. During these checks, Thompson verifies that the offender is living where they say they are. He also chats with them to make sure the offender isn’t breaking any laws.
If an offender is found to be lying about where they are living, a warrant can be issued for their arrest.
The latest numbers show that in Mecklenburg county, there are 1,069 registered offenders: 155 are incarcerated and 887 are living in communities countywide.
The department does this special holiday operation as a precaution since children are out trick-or-treating.