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For Columbus Division of Police Halloween is ‘business as usual’

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Halloween is a holiday often associated with mischievous activity and heavy alcohol consumption, but Columbus authorities say the weekend will be treated like any other.
“It’s going to be business as usual,” said Columbus Division of Police Sgt. Richard Weiner. “We aren’t preparing any overtime or anything of that nature.”
Ohio State students are encouraged to have fun and celebrate the weekend with peers, but Weiner said that celebrations need to come with a sense of maturity.
“We are all about the college experience and understand that getting together and meeting with friends, that’s what part of college is,” Weiner said. “However, there comes a responsibility with those get-togethers.”
Weiner said that unlike football Saturdays where they might have some extra officers around campus, police don’t expect any problems out of the ordinary and are planning to patrol as usual.
“This happens every year, we know there are parties associated with Halloween and on campus,” Weiner said. “We’ll just monitor like we do every other weekend and we’ll handle issues as they arise.”
Sean Bolender, program coordinator for OSU Student Safety Service, said that there are several things students should keep in mind when making weekend arrangements.  
“I think the general message … is that safety is proactive and not reactive,” Bolender said. “Having a plan for the evening, thinking things through in advance is definitely advised, especially when designating who is going to be your driver for the night in advance. If you have a group of friends you can travel to and from events with, that helps ensure their safety.”
On the OSU Department of Public Safety’s website under the “Police Division” tab, there are personal safety tips for students. One of the tips is making sure students use public walkways instead of “dark or secluded places.”
Weiner said that despite a recent jaywalking ticket increase, OSU Police on Halloween weekend will not be watching for jaywalkers any more than on any other weekend.
“We are not going to ramp up enforcement or anything specifically for Halloween,” Weiner said, but added that their work is not completely done. “We are going to continue our efforts to educate everybody in the campus area about the dangers of not crossing at marked crosswalks and at lit intersections.”
Still, some students plan to err on the side of caution for Halloween after the recent increase in jaywalk enforcement.
“Don’t jaywalk,” said Tommy Sheperd, a third-year in electrical engineering. “I almost got a ticket the other night.”
Sheperd said that he plans to go out to a friend’s party and visit different bars to celebrate Halloween.
Other students said they think remaining conscious of their alcohol consumption is the key to remaining safe during the holiday.
“I would say just definitely stay inside your drinking limits, because once you get outside of those you are definitely in a position where you can get in trouble with the law, (and) you can get in trouble health wise,” said Brandon Morgan, a fourth-year in sociology. “As long as you keep within your limits, I guess you can have a fun Halloween.”
Many students plan to dress up in costume for Halloween, something Weiner said can present an additional element of danger to the celebration plans.
“When you start dressing up, people kind of seem invisible to everyone else because they have a mask on,” Weiner said. “So just keep in mind, walk in pairs, try to walk in well-lit areas and wear reflective clothing if you’re going to be out late.”
While students across campus have a variety of different activities they plan on pursuing, Morgan said it’s important for them to stay safe.
“I feel like as long as you treat the law enforcement officers with respect that you’ll get respect in return,” Morgan said. “So I just hope that everyone stays within a decent limit and gives law enforcement respect so we can have a great time.”

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