Don't be spooked this Halloween
In the run up to Halloween (Monday 31 October) Wiltshire Police are encouraging young people to be safe and respect others if they are out and about in local communities trick or treating.
Parents and carers have an important role to play to help keep children and young people safe and encourage them to act responsibly while taking part in trick or treating activities.
If you or someone you know is ‘trick or treating’ this Halloween, follow these six simple top tips:
• Always be accompanied by an adult when you are trick or treating
• You should only go to houses of people that you know and who are happy for you to call
• Stay safe, keep to places that you know and are well lit. Do not take short cuts through gardens, alleyways or parks
• Watch out for traffic
• If you're wearing a mask, make sure that you can see where you are going and are aware of your surroundings
• Carry a torch and a fully charged mobile phone (if you have one).
Chief Constable Mike Veale will be carrying out visibility patrols with staff and officers in the Wiltshire South Community Policing Team area.
Swindon Superintendent Charlie Armstrong said: “As well as our teams looking out for anti-social ‘trick or treating’ activity in our residential areas we will be particularly focussed upon protecting our vulnerable people and households.
“We hope that children who are ‘trick or treating’ will be accompanied by responsible adults so that everyone can have fun and enjoy a safe event. Halloween is no excuse for picking on people or frightening them for a laugh.
“Please make sure that you respect those who don’t want to take part in the event.
“It’s easy to tell those who are happy to join in – they’ll have the usual pumpkins and lighting around their houses so call on them and leave those whose lights are off or who have one of the ‘no thanks’ posters up.
“We expect the weekend leading up to Halloween to be a busy one in the night time economy so we can reassure those looking to visit the town centre that we will be putting additional resources on patrol and that the new CCTV cameras are working well for the safety and benefit of everyone.”
During the Halloween period, Community Policing Teams across the force area will be undertaking high visibility patrols to help prevent anti-social behaviour.
Superintendent Phil Staynings, Head of Crime Prevention for Wiltshire Police said: “We want everyone to enjoy Halloween in a safe and responsible way that does not cause any problems in our communities.
“We would urge any trick or treaters, in particular the children and young people, to take care when out and about this Halloween and to consider carefully which doors they knock on. Please bear in mind knocking on the doors of elderly or vulnerable residents or people living on their own can be distressing or frightening for the occupants.”
If at any point you do feel nervous or unsafe:
• Don’t open your door if you’re unsure who is there. Use your spy-hole, look out of a window and use your door chain if you do decide to open your door
• Have a contact number of a close relative or good neighbour by your telephone, just in case you need to phone them
• If you are part of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, let your coordinator know that you will be on your own at Halloween. If you are a coordinator, please identify people in your scheme that may be vulnerable and offer them reassurance.
Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, said: “For many Halloween is a time to enjoy. It can be great fun, especially for young people.
“It is however, important to remember that for some people in our communities, who may be vulnerable, elderly or living alone, ‘trick or treating’ can be frightening.
“One of the priorities in my Police and Crime Plan is to protect those who are most vulnerable and prevent them from becoming victims of crime and anti-social behaviour.
During Halloween I am asking members of the public to join me in protecting these people in our communities by looking out for friends, family and neighbours and following the advice issued by Wiltshire Police.”
Wiltshire Police ‘No trick or treat’ posters are available for you to display if you don’t want trick or treaters at your door this Halloween. The poster can be displayed in your home, or homes of any neighbours or relatives. It should be displayed in a prominent position either on the front door or front window.
You can download the poster from the Wiltshire Police website at www.wiltshire.police.uk or via contacting your local policing team.