Trick or treat, and track sex offenders; NJ State Police say to check sex offender registry 

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JERSEY CITY, NJ  — In addition to checking your kids' candy this Halloween, you should also check to make sure that sex offenders aren't trying to target them.  That's the message from the New Jersey State Police for the holiday.

"The thing we really encourage parents to do is click on the sex offender registry," said Lt. Ted Schafer, a New Jersey State Police spokesperson. "Know where the sex offenders are in your neighborhood where you live."

The state police message is aimed at parents across New Jersey, like Angelica Vargas, of Jersey City.

"Yeah, I check it all the time," said Vargas, as she and her husband, Joseph, chaperoned their trick-or-treating children.

"I love my children, so I want to protect them," Vargas said.  "I may be overprotective, but they're my babies."

Specifically, she said, she logs on to the state registry at least once a month.

Vargas lives in Jersey City.  A new survey from concludes that of the 100 largest cities in the U.S., Jersey City is only outranked by New York for best places to celebrate the holiday.

Even here, there's a need to check for sex offenders, according to police.

Residents said that they understand.

"The sex offender [registry], it could be an issue, but we haven't heard too much of that here," said lifelong Jersey City resident Mariano Vega."

However, a simple check of one nearby Jersey City neighborhood showed three registered sex offenders within a few blocks' radius.

Police said that providing results like that is part of a process to help residents be safe in every way.

With the registry, said Lt. Schafer, "At least you'll be armed with that knowledge, to know which houses to avoid."