Suffolk police help scare up safe Halloween fun

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 13, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Halloween is quickly creeping up on us and the Suffolk Police Department is set to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time.

Police Sgt. C. S. Patterson of the Community Improvement Unit, said there will be several events for children across the city beginning with the Oct. 18 activities at the North Main Street Wal-Mart, and the College Square Wal-Mart in northern Suffolk on Oct. 25. The events run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at each location .

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&uot;A children’s activity table will be set up, where they can make their own trick or treat bags with crayons, glue sticks and pre- cut shapes,&uot; said Patterson. &uot;Parents will be given valuable information on trick or treat safety. Adults can get crime prevention information and sign up for free home security surveys, where valuable information will be offered with practical suggestions to crime proof their home.&uot;

Patterson added that for a limited time, the home security survey will include a video survey of the home, for investigative, recordkeeping, and insurance purposes, in the event of a theft. This was made possible by the Target Corporation and the Suffolk Target Import Warehouse, which provided a grant to purchase a video camera

When Halloween night rolls around, police officers will distribute candy to trick or treaters in both the Northern precinct, and the Downtown precinct. Once again, they will also hand out safety tips to their parents.

Joan Jones and the Crime Scene Search Unit will sponsor the Ident-a- Kid program during this event, however, all children must be accompanied by a parent to take part in the program.

&uot;We would much rather address crime before it happens,&uot; said Patterson. &uot;Having prior information on the children, like fingerprints and other data, is the key to keeping them safe.&uot;

Small changes to the security of our homes, or in the child’s behavior, make a great deal of difference in whether they become a victim.&uot;

Patterson offered several suggestions for Halloween safety including, parents should instruct their children not to open their candy until they return home.

&uot;Every piece of candy should be examined for tampering before their children eat it,&uot; said Patterson. &uot;It is best if adults hand out only wrapped or packaged candy.&uot;

Children should always be accompanied by an adult, and someone at home should know the exact route their trick or treaters will take.

&uot;It is also important to have a set time limit for the children so that they return home at a specified time,&uot; said Patterson. &uot;Also, have children stay within the neighborhood and visit the homes you know. Children should never go into a stranger’s house, and they should never trick-or-treat alone but carry a flashlight and cross only at corners or marked crosswalks. Never cross the road between parked cars, and if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.&uot;

Patterson also noted that there are several things homeowners should do on Halloween night including welcoming trick or treaters by turning on exterior lights, and removing objects from your yard that might present a hazard to visitors.

There are several precautions drivers can take including driving in an extra cautious manner, staying alert for children crossing the road.

Since Halloween night is notorious for a few &uot;bad&uot; things happening, there are measures people can take to help insure the safety of everyone. Patterson said people should report any suspicious or criminal activity to the police department by calling 923-2350, or call the Emergency Communications Division at 911.

&uot;The Suffolk Police Department wishes everyone a safe and happy Halloween,&uot; said Patterson. &uot;If there is any question we can answer about activities for the holiday, please call 923-2350.&uot;