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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Hallo-weekend safety: Celebrating without any spooky surprises

Safe+Halloween
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien
Safe Halloween

With Halloween right around the corner, college students all over the country are preparing for a night full of spooky activities.
This year, Halloween lands on a Sunday, making it the perfect time to dress up and celebrate. But this should all be done with caution, College Station Police Department’s, or CPSD, Public Information Officer Tristen Lopez said. Statistics have shown that there are higher crime rates in college towns during Halloween weekend, so A&M students should follow alcohol safety guidelines, Lopez said.
“We encourage alcohol safety. Always make sure that you have a safe ride home and that you plan ahead of time how you are going to get home,” Lopez said. “When you get to the point where you feel like you’ve had too much alcohol, stop drinking. Be able to recognize the signs of alcohol poisoning and get help if you feel you or another person needs it.”
Being a college town, Lopez said College Station sees a significant amount of underage drinking, and Halloween weekend is no exception to this. Lopez said students should be aware of the consequences alcohol offenses carry.
“Don’t drink alcohol if you are under 21,” Lopez said. “Don’t allow minors to consume alcohol. Even if you are a minor yourself, you can get in trouble for providing alcohol to another minor. You don’t want to risk jail time for that.”
To prevent anything dangerous from occurring, Lopez said the department recommends students take precautionary measures 
before going out to celebrate this Halloween.
“Charge your phone to full capacity before going out. Eat and drink plenty of water before consuming alcohol and never drive if you have been drinking alcohol,” Lopez said. “Remember if you feel different you drive differently. Remember the catchphrase ‘buzzed driving is drunk driving.’”
CPSD also urges college drivers to slow down, young trick-or-treaters and families will be on the streets, which increases the likelihood of reckless driving causing an accident.
“If you are going to be driving in the evening during Halloween hours, make sure you are driving with extra caution. Slow down, don’t have any distractions and always expect the unpredictable,” Lopez said. “Children often don’t act like adults would act. Slow down and take your time driving through the neighborhoods.”
Additionally, Lopez said, if students choose to wear costumes, they should ensure they do not carry anything resembling a real weapon.
“Make it obvious it is a prop and just avoid having anything that can be confused as a real weapon. That could help avoid a tragedy,” Lopez said.
University Police Department, or UPD, Lt. Bobby Richardson said there is an increase of criminal mischief on campus on Halloween weekend. Richardson said they have seen cases where people start to take decorations or begin trying to pull pranks on one another that break the law.
To celebrate Halloween safely, Richardson said the department advises students to look out for one another and stay with people they trust.
“If you are going out, go out with a group. Watch out for your friends and have your friends watch out for you,” Richardson said. “Never drink and drive and only accept drinks from bar employees.”
Additionally, Richardson said the department encourages students to use the safety resources the university offers, such as Carpool and the Corps of Cadets Escort Service.
Phone numbers for Carpool and the Corps Escorts — as well as other emergency numbers — are on the back of every Aggie ID card.
“Carpool is a very good organization.” Richardson said. “Uber, Lyft, call a friend, get a taxi to make sure you have a safe ride home. Also remember to report any suspicious activity to the police immediately.”
In the past, there has also been a correlation between Halloween celebrations and sexual assaults. The Sexual Assault Resource Center, or SARC, serves to help survivors of sexual violence in the Brazos Valley area. SARC’s Executive Director Lindsey LeBlanc said there are large spikes of sexual violence on the days before and after Halloween.
“We theorize that perpetrators are more active through this time,” LeBlanc said. “There are more people out and about … so statistically there is more opportunity for perpetrators to engage in criminal activity.”
Additionally, LeBlanc said all of SARC’s resources will be in full force during the holiday weekend.
“We operate a 24/7 hotline that is available for survivors and loved ones of survivors to call and get information, referrals or crisis intervention,” LeBlanc said. “We also have a 24/7 accompaniment program, where we send advocates out to the hospitals during the sexual assault nurse examination. These continue throughout Halloween and throughout any other holiday.”
LeBlanc said SARC also encourages students to be proactive bystanders; however, if they witness an emergency, they should contact law enforcement immediately as they could put themselves in harm’s way as well.
“Bystanders are an important intervention of sexual violence,” LeBlanc said. “Often we see things or hear things that are unsettling. It’s important that we watch out for those around us, and we speak up if we see something that might be concerning and we step in when it’s appropriate.”
SARC is committed to helping the public regardless of criminal report status, LeBlanc said, but she encourages reporting all cases of crime.
“If they are afraid to report a sexual assault SARC is a free and confidential resource. You don’t have to have a criminal case, you don’t have to have an exam in order to call us and get services,” LeBlanc said. “We’ll have an advocate at the hospital if they are reporting at the hospital or through law enforcement … as well as court.”
Additionally, LeBlanc said the center is here to support Aggies who may experience any form of sexual violence, not just during Halloween but any time before and after.
“I think the important message is that we are here for survivors, no matter what happens or where they are in their journey, we are always just a phone call away,” LeBlanc said. “Using our hotline, 979-731-1000, is a great way for them if they are needing services or needing support, we can be there for them the whole weekend.”

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