Halloween is traditionally a time of fun, each year though the police deal with a number of Halloween-related incidents involving criminal damage and anti-social behaviour. Calls, tricks or pranks may be harmless fun to some but can cause real distress to others so be aware that police will take a firm stand against anyone causing a problem. Behaviour such as throwing eggs or flour can also quickly cross the line from being anti-social into causing criminal damage.
Crime Prevention Products would urge anyone who is planning on going out trick or treating to act sensibly and not cause upset to other members of the community, especially the elderly and vulnerable. Equally important is the necessity for the trick or treaters to stay safe themselves & by following a few guidelines, you can ensure Halloween is safe and trouble-free for everyone.
I also would take this opportunity to remind retailers of their responsibilities about selling eggs or flour to children and teenagers at this time of year.
For the safety of the trick or treaters:
• Adults should always accompany their children when trick or treating & young people should never go alone.
• Parents must warn children not to knock on the doors of strangers, remind them that they do not know who is going to answer the knock! – they should only go to neighbours and people they know.
• They must NEVER enter a stranger’s house, just think about the risks here.
• Inform them to ALWAYS keep to well-lit areas and wear bright coloured clothing and carry a torch!
• Unless pre-arranged, they should not visit elderly members of the community and they must be careful not to frighten vulnerable people.
• Most important of all, they must keep their tricks within the law because anything that results in damage is an offence and will be dealt with as such by the police.
Do NOT approach houses with the ‘NO Trick or Treating’ signs. They really are there for a reason.
For the safety of the householder, at any point if you feel unsafe:
Don’t open your door if you’re unsure who is there. Use your spy-hole, look out of a window, and ALWAYS use your door chain if you do decide to open your door.
It is a good idea to have a contact number of a close relative or good neighbour to hand by your phone, just in case you need to call them.
If you are part of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, let your coordinator know that you will be on your own at Halloween.
If you are a Watch coordinator, please identity people in your scheme that may be vulnerable and offer them reassurance.
Finally, there are a number of posters available to download free from your local police websites for your area should you wish to let trick or treaters know that you are not taking part in Halloween.