Surry Co. deputies monitor sex offenders on Halloween night

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DOBSON, N.C. -- Surry County authorities are making house calls to sex offenders this Halloween for their annual registry check called "Operation Silent Night."

Sheriff Graham Atkinson says each Halloween deputies and local law enforcement divide into teams knocking on the doors of all registered sex offenders in the county to update their current address, photo, employment information.

"Just simply by the presence being there we may prevent some child experiencing some traumatic incident that will follow them the rest of their life," said Atkinson.

The Dobson, Elkin and Mount Airy police departments also participate in program.

Sheriff Atkinson says they perform the checks at Halloween because of the high traffic of children in neighborhoods.

At the time of the checks, offenders are warned not to take part in Halloween activities with children to avoid accusations or possible charges. However, there is no official law that keeps offenders from participating in trick or treat traditions

All counties are required by state law to update the registry information of sex offenders periodically.

There are a total of 78 registered sex offenders in Surry County. If the offenders are not home during the operation, detectives will return to the home of the offender at a later date to follow-up on the investigation.

Last year three sex offenders were charged during the operation for being in violation of offender rules.

Davidson, Forsyth and Guilford counties also complete door to door registry checks and warnings. However the operation is only geared towards sex offenders on probation by their parole officers.