KEEPING PROPERTY SAFE DURING HALLOWEEN
Something strange is in the air around Halloween when it comes to household security matters. They don’t call it Devil’s Night for nothing.
According to Statistics Canada, there’s a general increase in the number of criminal incidents reported to police at Halloween when compared with the previous week.
For example, there was an 11% increase in property violations, including general mischief and arson, reported to police during Halloween 2008 compared to a week earlier. And of all criminal incidents reported during Hallowe’en that year, 49% were violations against property.
Come Halloween – and the night before as well – homeowners should be aware of the increased possibility that their property may be targeted for vandalism, be it in the form of toilet papering trees, smashing pumpkins or any number of other senseless acts of property destruction. Plus, with all the trick-or-treating activity, a thief could easily slip in and out of houses without any one noticing, taking a lot more than just a handful of candy.
There are a few basic household security steps to take to help prevent these things from happening to you.
Be vigilant at the door – Ensure at least one adult is visibly at the front door while all those little Justin Beibers and Disney princesses come knocking. This adds to the festive mood while at the same time keeps a watch out for anything untoward amidst all the fun, candy-fueled commotion. Weather permitting, many parents and grand-parents will keep the front door wide open during the peak bag-filling period, greeting the ghosts and goblins while also keeping a sharp eye out for possible un-wanted entry to their houses.
Support local safety programs – There are a wide variety of Hallowe’en patrol groups across Canada dedicated to keeping the night fun and safe for all. For example, Toronto Police, along with hundreds of volunteer employees from Rogers Cable, distribute thousands of loot packs containing safety tips, a reflective armband and other goodies to help teach youngsters about Halloween before they head out to trick-or-treat. Then, on Halloween itself, hundreds of Rogers employees patrol around Toronto in 175 bright-red Rogers Cable vans to keep an eye on trick-or-treaters and give them a safe place to turn to if they need help on Oct. 31.
Shine a light on possible trouble – Keeping your front lights brightly shining before during and after Halloween can help deter wanna-be Halloween vandals and potential property damage. Using motion detector lighting can be particularly effective, as a sudden bright light will often scare away teenagers who think they’ve been seen by homeowners. The dynamic aspect of these lights – given that they come on and off based on movement – suggests activity in the home even if the homeowners themselves have left for quieter locales that evening.
Halloween brings out the best – and sometimes the worst – in people. Taking a few property security measures can help ensure that the only devils on your property are the cute little ones looking for more candy.