trick or treaters walking at night

This is Operation Boo’s 25th year!   So the California Department of Corrections’ (CDCR) Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) has refocused its free, online and downloadable parent empowerment guide- Boo Tips.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice show a staggering need to make parents aware that it isn’t strangers who most often molest children. The vast majority of people who sexually assault children are people well known to the child and their family.

Years ago, the main message to combat child sex abuse was about Stranger Danger. But that’s changed because, even though just one such case is too many, research shows that only a small percentage (10%) of molestation cases involves strangers abducting and abusing children.   The U.S. Department of Justice says most sex-abuse against kids is committed by people they know and trust.

  • 30% of all child molesters are the children’s own family members.
  • Twice that many, about 60%, aren’t family members — but they are known to the child.  They’re family friends, babysitters, child care providers, or neighbors.
  • And it’s not just adults; 23% of reported cases are committed by people younger than 18 years of age.

The information included in “Boo Tips” was compiled by various government agencies, advocacy groups and their experts.

The links help parents:

  • talk to their children, from toddlers to teens, in an age-appropriate way about  setting personal boundaries;
  • emphasize that certain parts of their bodies are private;
  • stress to children that they should feel comfortable telling their parents or   someone they trust anything, especially if it involves another adult;
  • listen for warning signs from their children;
  • how to look for signs that someone is paying an unusual amount of attention to a child;
  • and one of its most popular features, the traditional Megan’s Law map of known sex-offenders’ residences is still available so that families can map out their trick or treat path.

On Halloween night, DAPO’s Special GPS Units and Parole Agents and their local law enforcement partners will conduct the traditional compliance checks on known sex offenders to make sure they’re staying away from trick-or-treaters. We’ll also have special transient sex-offender curfew centers set up where they are most needed.

The Tradition

parole officers knocking on door

DAPO has been conducting Operation Boo since 1994. Operation Boo is held statewide in California on Halloween night. Known sex offenders supervised by DAPO are monitored closely by agents to ensure that they don’t attempt to attract children to their homes. Special Conditions of Parole are imposed on sex offenders for Halloween night.

Special Halloween Conditions of Parole for Sex Offender Registrants

  • A 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. curfew during which parolees must remain indoors;
  • All exterior lights of their homes must be turned off so that it looks as if no one is home, which discourages children from approaching;
  • No offering of Halloween candy and no Halloween decorations are allowed;
  • During the curfew, sex offender parolees can only open the door to respond to law enforcement, such as parole agents who are patrolling their caseload to ensure compliance.

Transient Sex Offender Monitoring

Since a significant number of sex-offenders are also homeless, special centers will be set up for Halloween Night in most regions of the state. Sex-offenders will have to report to these Transient Sex-offender Curfew Centers to abide by the Halloween night curfew under the watchful eye of law enforcement officers.

Media coverage

CDCR’s Communications Office will coordinate state-wide media coverage of Operation Boo with the Regional Parole Units and Public Information Officers. For more information please click on the links below.