Police in Bowling Green could be expecting a heightened amount of vandalism and theft this Halloween. The holiday, known for being a celebration of fall, harvest and all things creepy and horror-related, is also a prime time for lawless mischief.
Property crimes spike by around 24 percent, according to 2016 travelers insurance data cited in the Nerdwallet.com article “Halloween Is No. 1 day for free candy — and property crime.” Of this property crime, 19 percent is vandalism and malicious mischief, 21 percent is off-premises theft, and 60 percent is theft from the home.
According to John Betori, deputy chief of police at the Bowling Green State University Police Department, the campus does not typically experience anything unusual during Halloween.
“We don’t do anything special for Halloween. We still have our normal patrol strategy. We still have our same people who patrol on bikes or in cars or on foot. Historically, we haven’t really seen an increase in criminal activity on the BGSU campus. For us, here on campus, there aren’t any special preparations,” he said.
Chief Betori says campus police and city police have always coordinated, helping each other out when needed.
“We have a strong working relationship. There will be times that they may be short, or their officers may be busy, that they’ll contact our officers to take a call for them. Likewise, if we’re ever in a situation where we need outside help, they’re going to be our first resource. That relationship is also strengthened by the fact that a lot of their officers will also work our bigger special events here,” he said.
Lt. Daniel Mancuso of the city police department says crime during Halloween is more likely to occur off-campus than on-campus.
“There’s always a lot of foot traffic in the downtown and student housing areas during Halloween. In anticipation of it, staffs are adjusted to provide for increased police presence.
People have increased disregard for the property rights of others, leading to high levels of criminal damage, criminal mischief, trespass and theft,” he said.
Daniel Mancuso listed several tips for avoiding trouble while having a good time this Halloween:
Don’t drink to excess.
Keep your property secured.
Lock your doors and windows.
Travel in groups.
Respect the rights of others.
Provide for high visibility (lighting, reflective clothing, don’t limit vision by costume or other covering)
Expect the unexpected of others.
Betori concludes that while campus is not likely to see extra rowdiness this Halloween, it is still important to stay mindful and vigilant.
“Halloween falls in the middle of the week this year, so it’s going to be even slower for us, but I would say that if you’re going to go out and have fun on Halloween, on-campus or off-campus, I would just say to use common sense,” he said.