No residency restrictions for sex offenders in Washington - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

No residency restrictions for sex offenders in Washington

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Idaho says sex offenders must turn off their porch lights on Halloween to keep kids from knocking on their doors when trick or treating. Texas says sex offenders must keep a sign on their yard during the holiday that says "no candy at this home". But none of those laws apply to Washington. In fact, there are no residency restrictions for sex offenders at all.

"That part right there, just scares me, I don't want my grand kids or any other people's children put at risk," says Pina Hope-Moorhead after learning not only there aren't residency restrictions, but also the fact that roughly four sex offenders live right in her neighborhood. It's because of these discoveries that she's decided to take her grand kids trick or treating at a public event like the mall.

Hope-Moorhead lives just off of W. Trent Ave. In that area, there is a concentration of sex offenders in the 5000 block. Many other neighbors said they've known about the offenders and say the area is easy to avoid. Hope-Moorhead said this holiday she'd rather not take the chance.

But Spokane County has a number of neighborhoods where there are one or more offenders, and the Spokane County Sheriff's department says there is little that can be done.

"If they've fulfilled all of their requirements for a registered sex offender, they can live wherever they want, they can hand candy out, they can go out trick or treating, so that surprises a lot of folks," says Deputy Craig Chamberlain with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Member of the Washington State Sheriff's Association say the reason there aren't any residency restrictions is because they believe the more isolated a person is, the more likely they are to re-offend.

And while this might surprise many parents, the Sheriff's Association says their program is relatively successful. Their non-compliance rate is one of the lowest in the country sitting at five percent, where the national average is 11 percent.

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