City and campus prepping for annual Halloween antics

Each Halloween, hundreds of Kent State students and local residents line the streets downtown, determined to have a festive Saturday evening.

This year, the entire 42-officer Kent police force and a SWAT team will attempt to keep partygoers safe.

The SWAT team is comprised of departments from Summit and Portage counties, including the Kent Police Department. The team will provide “additional manpower to provide for officer safety and crowd safety,” Lt. Jayme Cole said.

“Typically, all officers are assigned to wear utility uniforms on Halloween Saturday for safety reasons, so some people may perceive there are ‘SWAT teams’ roaming around, but the reality is that all the officers patrolling on foot are functioning as regular/normal foot patrols.”

Kent State Police Chief said the university police are ready to assist the city police if needed.

“If there is a disruption in off-campus housing and they need backup, we will be ready to provide that,” Peach said. “That is, if we’re not too busy ourselves.”

Kent State Police don’t expect this Halloween weekend to be any different than last year’s or the year before that.

Buckbee said although the department does not allocate any money specifically for Halloween, it will have more officers working and more police on bike and foot.

That is why, Lt. Bill Buckbee said, the department also knows what criminal behavior to look for.

“Alcohol related offenses are most common,” Buckbee said. Underage consumption, open containers and disorderly conduct are among the most common.

“Fortunately, the crimes tend to be low-to-middle-level disorder, and seldom more serious such as assaults.”

Topping the list of charges for the evening was underage drinking, with 38 arrests during the celebrations and 36 on Halloween.

Usually, there is a weekend court to accommodate the arrests made during the festivities, but Judge Kevin Poland has decided that it is not necessary this year.

During last year’s Kent Halloween celebration, there were 88 calls to the police department and 68 arrests. On Halloween day, there were 98 calls and 78 arrests. That’s almost double the calls for an average Saturday night in October, estimated at around 45, and almost seven times the average of 10 arrests.

To avoid being part of this year‘s statistics, the Kent police have offered the following tips:

• Don’t drive downtown. If you have to, it’s important to keep valuables out of sight and doors locked.

• Don’t park in a lot unless you have permission from the owner to avoid being towed.

• If you’re going downtown, it’s best to walk, use public transportation or get a taxi.

• Try to choose a costume that is visible to drivers.

• Don’t bring any costume-related accessories that could be used as a weapon. For example, “If you’re masquerading as Fred Flintstone, you can’t carry a real or realistic-looking club,” Lt. Cole said.

Despite the expected crime, Buckbee emphasized the importance of the holiday as a fun way for students to enjoy the town.

“Downtown is the place to be,” he said. “It’s the center of entertainment for the night.”

You can contact Daniel Moore at [email protected] and Ryan Young at [email protected].