Yesterday, we asked you to decipher whether or not a scene from the Halloween-themed episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" was fact or fiction. To jog your memory, here's what went down: Rollins (Kelli Giddish) and Fin (Ice-T) are spending their Halloween doing some trick-or-treating of their own, but instead of looking for candy, the detectives are searching for perps. When they approach a decorated door and are greeted by a dressed-up sex offender, the detectives arrest him.
So was that fact or fiction?
Timothy J. Hardiman, the technical consultant for "SVU" since 2004 and a retired inspector for the New York Police Department, helped us uncover the truth. According to Hardiman, there are real-life rules that prohibit registered sex offenders from displaying Halloween decorations, answering the door to trick-or-treaters, and possessing Halloween candy. The rules are meant to be a law-enforcement strategy to keep sex offenders from using Halloween to lure in victims. Having the detectives conduct the door-to-door checks is indeed a fact.
However, the "SVU" scene is not entirely realistic. "These rules are stipulations of a sex offender's parole or probation and not violations of the penal law," explains Hardiman. "If this segment of the episode were 100 percent real, Fin and Rollins would have each been teamed up with a parole or probation officer, and they would not have the authority to arrest the clown."
It's nice to know that measures have been taken so that kids are safer from sex offenders on Halloween. But Hardiman stresses one piece of advice to parents on Halloween: "Make sure your children can see and be seen; nothing should be obstructing their vision, and they should wear light colors or reflective strips so drivers can see them after sunset."
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the shooting of the aforementioned scene here:
"Law & Order: SVU" airs Wednesdays at 10pm ET on NBC.
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