Oct. 21, 2004 Halloween can be a fun hooliday, but the V.I. Police Department reminds the public Halloween is often a tense time of year, when pranks cross the line into criminal activity and when innocent children having fun and seeking treats fall victim to unscrupulous persons who prey on our young ones.
Police Commissioner Elton Lewis, in a press release, encourages parents to be careful and select wholesome family-oriented activities for Halloween and their children.
"I encourage children and adults, alike, to stay indoors and opt for family activities instead of trick-or-treating. I think it would be prudent for children, as well as adults, to stay off the streets for their own safety and the safety of the community, and to go out only if it is necessary. This would be a great opportunity for families to enjoy telling stories, make treats indoors and watch a family movie indoors," Lewis said in the release.
He warned, "The department will also crackdown on those who try to turn Halloween into 'Devils Day' through criminal activity. There will be a dramatic increase in police patrols on Halloween night to saturate communities in the territory in its efforts to prevent tragedies and apprehend those who use this day as an excuse for committing crimes."
Lewis recommended that children and adults abstain from trick-or-treating this year and offered the following tips for those who insist on going out:
-Wear light-colored clothing that is short enough to prevent tripping and add reflective tape to the sides, front and back of the costume. Abstain from wearing stocking caps, T-shirts or ski caps as masks.
-Make sure children can see well through face masks, or use cosmetics instead to create fun or scary faces.
-Adults should accompany young children at all times.
-Go out in the daylight and carry a flashlight in case of delay or darkness.
-Select agreed-upon homes of friends and/or family to visit within your neighborhood or community. Visit homes you know.
-Watch for traffic.
-Give and accept only wrapped or packaged candy. Do not accept or give fruits and open candy.
-Examine all candy before allowing children to eat it.
-Keep costumed children away from pets. The pet may not recognize the child and become frightened.
-Avoid hard plastic or wood props, such as daggers or swords. Substitute with foam rubber, which is soft and flexible.
-Stay away from toy guns of any type that may be mistaken for the real item. Avoid fireworks, caps or anything of an explosive nature.
-Select reasonable costumes, preferably those without masks, and abstain from wearing stocking caps or ski caps as masks.
"Following these guidelines will help to ensure the safety of everyone involved and, hopefully, aid police in identifying those who may be out for much more than fun on Halloween night," Lewis said.
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