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Chat about Halloween safety with Lawrence Police

October 31, 2006

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

Matt Sarna and Jon Barta

Officers Matt Sarna and Jon Barta will be online Tuesday to take your questions about how to keep children safe during trick-or-treating.

Moderator:

Hi folks! I'm Joel Mathis, managing editor for convergence. The officers are here and ready to chat. We'll start a little early.

I have a question of my own: When I was growing up, there was a lot of fear about Halloween -- warnings about razors in candy and getting caught by thieves in the dark. Are these legitimate fears, or are we too worried about such things.

Matt Sarna and Jon Barta:

There is no problem being over cautious with the safety of children. A good rule of thumb is to have children bring home treats to have them sorted and checked by adults. Adults should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items. When in doubt, throw it out.

november_sky:

Sir,

Officer Sarna and Barta....Gentlemen, as we all know, Halloween is a night where many young children will be out and about...in the dark! Given that, I have to believe that Halloween is kinda like Christmas to a child sex pervert.
What, if anything, can your department do to protect our little ones from these disgusting perverts? Will there be extra patrolmen on duty..say, up until 10pm or so?

Matt Sarna and Jon Barta:

We always have police on patrol in neighborhoods on Halloween when children are going door to door as manpower allows. It always good to have parents accompany the children while out. Always stop at familiar houses in the neighborhood with the porch lights on. Also, only accept candy on the porch and never go inside a house. The hours for beggars night is 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Moderator:

Should parents accompany their children door-to-door, or are the neighborhoods safe enough to let groups of children go on their own?

Matt Sarna and Jon Barta:

A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds. Children should have a flashlight or glowstick so they can see and be seen by others. Parents should always know the route their children plan to take. If possible, have children take a cell phone in case of an emergency.

Moderator:

But of course, Halloween is supposed to be fun. Some of our questioners have those types of queries...

Teapot9:

Will I be allowed to hide in my bushes with a hose and spray anyone who vandalizes my house with eggs or anything else?

Matt Sarna and Jon Barta:

Parents should explain to children the difference between tricks and vandalism. Throwing eggs at a house may seem like fun, but they need to know the other side of the coin as well. Clean up and damages can ruin Halloween. If they are caught vadalizing, make them clean up the mess they have made. Also explain to them that it can also lead to criminal charges.

KSChick1:

What are you going to do if Michael Myers shows up in Lawrence?

Matt Sarna and Jon Barta:

If you do see Mr. Myers in the neighborhood, make sure you run and call 911.

hilary:

Matt,
Is it true that cops with braces is the scariest Halloween costume of the season?

Matt Sarna and Jon Barta:

Hilary, it is true. And it is a very expensive costume!

Moderator:

Seriously, though, I understand that Lawrence has actually been a pretty safe place on Halloween. Is that true?

Matt Sarna and Jon Barta:

Yes, we have not had any serious events in the past besides the normal calls for Halloween. This is due to parents being aware of the children's locations and routes they are taking. Parents taking responsibilty for their children's safety makes our job easier.

Moderator:

You said the police patrol neighborhoods on Halloween. Do you bring in extra officers to do that?

Matt Sarna and Jon Barta:

We have the normal amount of officers working on Halloween as we would on a typical weekday. Officers will patrol neighborhoods as the call load allows.

Moderator:

Any thoughts on costume visibility? We were given stark warnings, when I was a kid, about being run over in the dark.

Matt Sarna and Jon Barta:

Always have flashlights and be visible. Reflective tapes adds a extra measure of safety and visibility for the children. Please do warn the children not to step out between parked cars into traffic.

Moderator:

What other safety tips can you share with us today?

Matt Sarna and Jon Barta:

Always remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. Do not walk down alleys and through yards. If no sidewalks are available, walk at the farthest edge of the roadway facing traffic.

Never enter a stranger's car for a treat and always stay away from pet animals you are not familiar with.

Be careful on porches where candles are present to avoid catching costumes on fire. If you have a mask, make sure you have good visibility.

Moderator:

That's all the questions we have today. Thanks, gentlemen, for joining us today!

Matt Sarna and Jon Barta:

Thank you and Happy Halloween from the Lawrence Police Department.

Comments

Ralph Gage 8 years, 1 month ago

Good to see some young guys with a sense of humor.

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