San Mateo police out in force on Halloween

October 31, 2008 12:30:11 PM PDT
Ghosts, ghouls and goblins may be out to spook a few revelers this Halloween night, but San Mateo police are more concerned about trick-or-treating safety and teenagers armed with eggs, Lt. Mike Brunicardi said today.

Costumed kids and celebrations are expected around town despite the wind and rain, Brunicardi said.

"I think the rain is going to put a little bit of a damper on the celebration, but historically it's a very busy weekend for us," he said. "That's why we saturate the town with patrol units."

Officers will be working to keep an eye on trick-or-treaters and parent chaperones, teenagers vandalizing neighborhoods, and adults throwing parties and consuming alcohol, Brunicardi said.

"One thing that has been rumored to be tradition is to throw eggs," he said. "That's not tradition, that's vandalism. We have a zero tolerance for that kind of thing."

Brunicardi said throwing eggs can be harmful and can ruin a child's holiday. Anyone who sees a suspicious group of people or suspects vandalism is taking place should immediately call police.

"Don't try to take that type of activity on yourself," Brunicardi said.

The Police Department has also offered tips for trick-or-treaters, stressing that flashlights are essential and children should walk on sidewalks in well-lit areas.

Candy seekers should also have backup plans in case a group is separated, police said. Carrying walkie-talkies or cell phones can help adults stay connected with trick-or-treaters.

The usual "if in doubt, throw it out" candy warnings should always be heeded, Brunicardi said.

"Check the candy to make sure it's safe and sealed," he said. "Anything that is not, give us a call."

Homeowners whose doorbells will be ringing all night should prepare their homes to ensure trick-or-treaters are safe, police said.

Hazardous obstacles should be removed, outside lights should be turned on and battery powered candles for jack-o'-lanterns are recommended. Treats should be kid-friendly and big enough to avoid choking risks for small children.

Brunicardi said police have an action plan to keep celebrators in check.

"We have an action plan that deploys our resources," Brunicardi said. "We want to make sure we are keeping high profiles and keeping checks and balances on those celebrating."

Police have also offered safety tips for drivers, warning them to drive slowly, keep an eye out for children and be careful when entering or exiting driveways. Police will also be on the lookout for anyone driving while impaired, Brunicardi said.

Anyone who witnesses suspicious activity or has any concern should call police at (650) 522-7700. Emergencies should be called in to 911.

"We are going to be out in force to make sure everyone has a safe holiday," Brunicardi said. "The law doesn't take a break for Halloween."


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