Police plan normal patrols for Halloween

With Halloween falling on both a weekend and a game day, students may be more focused on parties, football and haunted houses than on safety.

Despite the weekend festivities, University police said they are not anticipating any major problems this Halloween.

“We will have a full contention of officers that will be looking for anything that is out of the ordinary or out of control,” said University Police Lt. Skip Frost.

This marks a change from last Halloween, when 200 police officers were on duty in Campustown because of a shooting threat on Green Street, Frost said.

He said this year, fewer officers will be patrolling.

Rene Dunn, assistant to the chief of police for the Champaign Police Department, said in an e-mail that the Champaign Police will not be providing any extra enforcement this year.

However, other factors will affect the possibility of crime on campus this weekend, including the football game against Michigan, a predicted rain-free forecast and the holiday’s celebration on a Saturday, Frost said.

“On football weekends, people tend to over indulge in alcohol abuse,” Frost said. “It is really just another Saturday night to us.”

In recent years, the University police department has not seen a rise in arrests, marking a change from the late ’80s and early ’90s, when many arrests were made at popular Halloween gatherings, Frost said.

Other police departments across the Big Ten said they do not see Halloween as a problem either.

Sgt. Jason Forsberg of the University of Michigan said his campus has not received any Halloween threats this year or in past years.

He added that there has not been an increase in arrests on Halloween.

“We make arrests every day, and we do not make arrests for outrageous costumes,” he said.

Capt. Jerry Minger of the Indiana University-Bloomington Police Department said the department has not seen any criminal incidents related to Halloween.

“There has not been an increase for us to respond to,” Minger said. “We do not anticipate this year to be so, either.”

Halloween on Indiana’s campus is open to families in the community.

In a 10-block area where the fraternity and sorority houses are located, parents bring their children trick-or-treating, Minger said.

Outside the Big Ten, the city of Athens, Ohio, which is adjacent to the Ohio University campus, throws a major Halloween party every year.

Ohio University communications specialist George Mauzy said Halloween parties will begin on Saturday afternoon and will continue until 2 a.m. There is an orchestrated city-block party in the downtown area; however, Ohio University is not affiliated with the event.

He said the university has a ‘Green Jacket Team’ that patrols the campus and tries to protect it from vandalism. The team consists of roughly 100 people, including administrators and faculty, and has been around for at least 15 years.

Each team has two to three people equipped with flashlights and is assigned an area on campus.

The teams are stationed outside residence halls, Mauzy said. To gain access into the halls, each person’s name must be on a list that validates who lives there.

“We’re trying to keep a better account of who’s on campus,” Mauzy said. “We are like a second set of eyes to aid the law enforcement.”

As students prepare for the weekend at the University, Frost said they need to keep in mind practical ways to dress for Halloween as well.

“We react to people’s behavior, not their costume,” Frost said. “Weapons are forbidden on campus through the entire school year. Don’t come out like a wild west wrangler with a real gun.”