This week, we’ve been obsessed with Halloween. Maybe it’s the holiday spirit, maybe it is some spooky coincidences we’ve seen in our data, or perhaps it is because more crimes tend to be reported on Halloween than any other holiday in Los Angeles.
Whatever the reason, we have been keeping a finger on the pulse of Halloween, and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is right there with us.
“It’s a high-risk day,” said Bill Bustos, an LAPD reserve police officer. “We want it to be fun, but we want it to be safe.”
Think those two are mutually exclusive? We got some suggestions on how Angelenos can enjoy the holiday without losing that playful anarchy that makes Halloween special for everyone.
Officer Bustos recommends that parents think about the costumes their kids wear before they go out that night. A shiny, reflective costume is better, especially one that can easily be seen by drivers. Also, don’t wear any masks, he said. It is better to be identifiable in the case of an emergency. You don’t want to get mixed up with the seven other Spidermen on the block.
“We are going to have literally hundreds of thousands of children participating,” Bustos said.
Kids can even take the LAPD’s online test to best prepare for a safe Halloween.
But, it’s not all on the trick-or-treaters themselves to stay safe. The LAPD will reportedly be rolling out additional DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols, designed to crack down on intoxicated or dangerous drivers who are even more of a liability when kids are flooding the streets.
“What we do see is pedestrians being struck and people fleeing the scene,” Bustos said. “We are going to have a large number of pedestrians crossing the street. This is unusual.”
The DUI checkpoints will be posted across the city, making mandatory stops for drivers to check for any signs of dangerous driving. Saturation patrols are more targeted, where additional officers will be sent to areas the LAPD understands to have historically higher rates of dangerous driving. Here, without a specific checkpoint, they have the right under California state law to pull over any driver they have a reason to believe is dangerous or under the influence.
Residents can learn more about the potential dangers and risks of Halloween at a information session hosted by the LAPD starting at 5 a.m. tomorrow in Panorama City. Those who attend will hear even more safety tips, and see examples of what safe and unsafe candy looks like.
“Anytime we have a high risk day like Halloween, we know about it and prepare way before that,” Bustos said. “It is the responsibility of every officer to be cognizant of that.”