Gate night – when teenagers play pranks or get-up to no good in neighbourhoods – isn’t what it used to be in the Trail area, says RCMP Acting Sgt. Darryl Orr.
But police still ramped up patrols Monday and will again tonight as trick-or-treaters take to the streets.
“We never know if it’s going to be a bad night on October 30 or 31st,” Orr told the Trail Times Monday. “So we will definitely be out and more visible than normal.”
The primary safety issue on Halloween is, of course, young pedestrians.
“We try to get our members out to the communities that are populated with the most kids, like for Trail, Glenmerry is a hugely popular for kids to hit a lot of houses real quick,” Orr said. “We try to keep people on the up and up, not all areas are well lit, and you have parents that drive kids around in cars.”
That’s the biggest change, a lot more vehicular traffic, he cautioned.
“And kids are full of sugar and full of energy,” Orr said. “So be careful when you are dropping your kids off or coming and going to different communities.”
To increase visibility, he recommends all trick-or-treaters carry a flashlight and add reflective tape or flashing-light accessories to costumes.
“We will have our guys out with their eyes open to potential problems,” Orr emphasized. “We haven’t had any significant problems over the last five years, and that’s the way we want to keep it.”
He also offered a piece of sweet advice, “If in doubt throw it out.”
“Be careful and watch your kids candy,” Orr advised. “If it’s not sealed, they shouldn’t be eating it. And homemade treats should only be taken and eaten if you know the people you are taking it from, that’s the general rule.”
ICBC has also issued a notice to drivers, warning that, “Halloween can really be a nightmare on B.C. roads.”
The insurance company says there are generally 25 per cent more traffic crashes on Oct. 31, compared to other days.
It works out to 330 people injured in 920 crashes across the province.
ICBC advises drivers to stay well below the speed limit, especially between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., peak time for trick-or-treating.
Don’t roll through stop signs or intersections, scan as you drive, don’t pass a slow or stopped vehicle, and keep your eyes peeled for drunk drivers.
For the kids, ICBC suggests they have bright costumes that fit well so they don’t trip on them, follow a safe route, trick-or-treat in groups, and follow the rules of the road.
Statistically, on average 240 people are injured in 620 crashes on Halloween night in the Lower Mainland, on Vancouver Island that’s 33 people injured in 130 crashes, in the Southern Interior, 40 people are injured in 110 crashes and in the North Central Region, on average 16 people are injured in 65 crashes in the North Central Region.
These statistics are from ICBC data based on a five-year average, between 2011 and 2015, during the 24-hour period on Oct. 31 each year.