Cops put scare into Halloween partiers

Increased police presence throughout Greater Victoria region the primary tactic for safe fun

Police officers around Greater Victoria are gearing up for what they hope will be a quiet, respectful and fun Halloween night.

But just in case that isn’t the case, forces around the region are doubling their on-duty officers for the night and making sure a police presence is noticeable.

VicPD will be increasing the number of officers out in the community and will take a two-pronged approach to the night. Pre-8 p.m. the focus will be on street safety for children who are out collecting candy.

“It’s really about making sure people keep their eyes open for little ghouls and goblins out trick-or-treating,” said spokesperson Bowen Osoko.

Post-8 p.m. officers will be in force dealing with the usual influx of certain kinds of calls they see on Halloween, namely mischief, minor property crimes and fireworks infractions.

In Saanich, police spokesperson Sgt. Steve Eassie said the focus for police on Halloween night, the busiest night of the year for them, is public safety on the roads.

Hopes are Thursday night is similar to the weekend, which was relatively quiet, Eassie said. Police presence will be doubled for the big night.

As per the district’s bylaw, fireworks are only allowed on Halloween night from 5 to 10 p.m., and only for properly certified individuals in designated areas. Those are not the folks Saanich police worry about.

“It’s the ones where you have youth walking down the street shooting roman candles at each other or blowing up people’s pumpkins, that type of thing,” Eassie said. “That’s the type of behaviour that’s going to draw our attention.”

In the West Shore more RCMP officers will be taking the proactive approach, hoping that through presence they will be able to prevent crime before it happens.

“You will see us out and about during the evening in a bike capacity as well as in vehicles,” spokesperson Cpl. Kathy Rochlitz said. “Good presence to make sure that everybody has a nice, safe and enjoyable evening.”

Rochlitz recommends those out on foot, whether with children or not, wear reflective-type clothing and to try to stay visible in the dark October night.

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