Law enforcement steps up patrol on Halloween
Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 31, 2013 02:10
With Halloween being celebrated at on and off-campus parties, local law enforcement will be on heightened patrol, looking for individuals committing crimes this weekend.
Lt. Charlotte Domingo, public information officer for University Police (UP), said officers are always aware on holidays that some students will go to parties, consuming alcohol and causing problems.
Last Friday, UP launched its Halloween Impaired Driving Campaign, which will run through the end of this weekend.
“We are going to be on the lookout for people coming from parties who have overindulged,” Domingo said. “If you aren’t 21, don’t drink, and if you are over 21, don’t get behind the wheel.”
Given the number of children who will be on the roadways tonight, Domingo urged drivers to be mindful of how their choices could possibly lead to tragic consequences.
The Tampa Police Department (TPD) will also be on heightened patrol tonight.
For several years now, TPD has been conducting Operation No Tricks, Just Treats, where they check up on registered sex offenders in Tampa to ensure Halloween is a safe holiday for trick-or-treaters.
“The operation is two parts,” Janelle McGregor, TPD spokeswoman, said. “Throughout the month, they’ve been going out and making sure (sex offenders) are aware of the law. Officers will be following up with them on Halloween night to make sure they don’t have any lights on or decorations that would attract kids to their house.”
While Domingo said more people are going to parties and consuming alcohol, UP crime rates over the past few years indicate that the amount of crime is not abnormal for what they are used to seeing.
“There’s no particular crime that really jumps out as a spike,” Domingo said. “It seems like the same crimes we see on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be out on heightened patrol like we are every year.”
One call UP officers get most frequently on Halloween, Domingo said, is due to people’s costume choices.
“People should try to not have weapons that go along with their costume,” she said. “Whether they be fake or real, it causes a very real concern for the community when people see that, and we have to respond to see what’s going on.”
Domingo noted, however, that UP doesn’t want people to assume weapons may be a part of a costume either.
“It’s hard on Halloween to be aware of things that might be out of the usual,” Domingo said. “But it’s still important that if you see anything that bothers you, give us a call.”
She said Halloween, which is typically portrayed as ‘Fright Night,’ is a day when people like to scare other people to the point where it causes issues for the community.
She asked students and people living within the university area, to not intentionally go out trying to scare people.
“It seems very not in the spirit of Halloween, but we ask people not to scare people, not to hide in the bushes and jump out at people,” Domingo said. “We just want people to be considerate of others and the choices they make.”