Students are encouraged to take extra precautions when going out around Halloween, and regardless of their Halloween activities, many students feel less safe when out on Oct. 31.
According to Gary Christie, assistant director of Public Safety, there is no statistical evidence that Halloween is more prone to crime than any other day of the year; however crime rates are generally high in the months of October and November, so students are asked to take this into consideration.
“October and November are historically very active months for street crime as the weather is still warmer, there are more people walking about at night, increasing the opportunities available for criminals looking for victims,” Christie said.
Public Safety increases the number of security personnel on Halloween as well as on mischief night, the night before Halloween.
“This is to discourage criminal activity as well as to deter student misconduct as students typically see the holiday as a unique party opportunity,” Christie said.”That makes me feel much safer,” sophomore Victoria Tolan said. “It makes me feel like I can go trick-or-treating and not get mugged while doing so.”
Students who plan on drinking are urged to be extra careful, as drinking puts them at a higher risk for trouble, crime-related or not.
“We ask that students act responsibly and watch out for each other both on and off campus if there is alcohol involved,” Christie said.
Many students that do not attend Halloween parties go into New York for Greenwich Village’s annual Halloween parade. Both in the city and on the way to and from the South Orange train station, students are encouraged to be cautious.
“Whenever possible, students are encouraged to use public transportation or the SHUFLY shuttle to travel off campus. The CASE van is available from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. to take students from the Public Safety building to locations not serviced by SHUFLY, within one-half mile of campus,” Christie said.
“The property you may lose to a criminal is not worth your personal safety. Also, promptly report these incidents to the police,” Christie said. “Arrests were made in the last two off-campus robberies because police were notified immediately and responding officers were able to apprehend the fleeing suspects.”
Sergeant Joseph Levanda of the South Orange Police Department also gives advice for what to do if you are walking alone.
“If you’re walking alone, especially in a place unfamiliar to you, stay someplace well-lit. Try to find a place where people are present,” Levanda said.
It is important to notify the police or call 911 in case of an emergency, and when calling from a cell phone it is important to state your location clearly.
Katherine O’Brien can be reached at email@example.com.