Saanich Police will boost its patrol numbers this Halloween night as the hair-raising holiday traditionally leads to an increase in calls when it falls on Saturday night.
“We do plan to have extra officers on patrol at various times of Friday and Saturday evenings as we expect an increase in parties and want to ensure everyone is safe,” said Saanich Police Sgt. Steve Eassie.
The volume of calls goes up when Halloween or other holidays fall on a weekend, Eassie said, as people “tend to have more time to celebrate.”
One thing Saanich Police will likely be responding to is unregistered bonfires and the release of fireworks by residents without a permit.
Registered bonfires under one metre in diameter are permitted between 5 and 11 p.m. on Saturday for a $10 fee, available at any of the Saanich fire stations until noon on Saturday.
Registration for fireworks – permitted only between 5 and 10 p.m. on Saturday – is available at municipal hall to those who have completed the district’s fireworks course, which is no longer available.
Eassie reminds residents to use Saanich Police’s non-emergency number 250-475-4321 to report fireworks unless it’s serious, such as a fire or someone firing them into traffic, etc.
“Dispatchers have a list of bonfires and fireworks and will know immediately if they are licensed,” Eassie said.
“We don’t ask people to call in but if there’s concerns, it could lessen their concern to know it’s permitted.”
Margaret Hogg is a volunteer with the Preventing Alcohol and Risk Related Trauma in Youth (PARTY) program out of Victoria General Hospital.
PARTY is reminding local teens to be mindful going into this weekend.
“We discuss the need to have a charged cellphone before going out; arranging with a responsible adult to come and pick you up if you call, no matter the time of day; how to get out of a vehicle if you realize the driver is incapacitated; the need to wear helmets (when cycling); and the long-term consequences of a brain injury or a DUI offence,” said Hogg.
Halloween safety tips
Do not go trick or treating alone. Children should be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Wear bright costumes and carry a flashlight, glow stick or have reflective tape on your costume to be visible to motorists.
If you are wearing a mask, ensure the eye holes are large enough for you to see clearly.
Do not eat treats until they have been inspected by an adult.
Throw away treats that are not in the manufacture’s packaging.
Do not approach houses that have the lights off.
Do not enter a house or vehicle of anyone you do not know or trust.
Let your parents know where you are going and when you will be home.
Never go into alleys, parking lots or wooded areas.
Stay away from firecrackers and fireworks.