By Hayley Jackson-Weber
With Halloween just around the corner, students at San Diego State University are getting ready for campus parties. This year, the holiday is expected to be even more festive than usual, as it falls on a Friday. But parties and costumes aren’t the only things on student’s minds this Halloween. With the recent stabbing of 22-year-old Luis Dos Santos near the campus, school safety is a concern of many.
Close to home
SDSU freshman Allie Gain said that while she has several friends who will be attending Halloween parties around campus, she will not. Gain’s uncle, a police officer at the Mid City Division of the San Diego Police Department, told his niece she should stay away from SDSU on Halloween night in light of Dos Santos’ death. “He told me not to come here, flat out. He said if I did come here, I should bring my pepper spray in the car” Gain said. That warning did scare her, which is why Gain said would be attending a Halloween party in Chula Vista instead.
Dos Santos’ killing hit especially close to home for many students because it happened on campus. “People are just out there and no one is taking care of anybody,” said Gain. She believes that SDSU needs more campus security and hopes that there will be more police on duty on Halloween night because, “stuff happens.”
No problems expected
San Diego State Police Sgt. Michael Frawley said he does not anticipate any problems this Halloween. He expects the usual increase in pedestrian traffic around campus, as well as more incidents of alcohol violations and “detox runs”, but nothing out of the ordinary. This Halloween, the Department will be adding extra patrols on Friday night, upping the number of officers from the usual five to eight.
Frawley said that in recent years, Halloween has not brought a significant increase in crime. Statistics reinforce those claims. 10 Incidents of disturbing the peace were reported during Halloween 2007, compared to six a couple of weekends ago. Medical aid calls have not increased significantly either. Police received six medical aid calls last Halloween, and only three calls a few weeks ago. Certain incidents such as security checks were actually down last Halloween when compared to an average weekend at SDSU.
Despite the numbers, Frawley doesn’t discount the fact that there is always the potential for things to get out of control. “Young adults are dressing up and doing the theme parties, and adults partake in it and mix in alcohol with it, which brings in a different element.”
Frawley added that the stabbing was a random act of violence. “It doesn’t make this place any less safe than it was before” he said.
Mid City Police Department Lt. Chuck Kaye echoed those sentiments. “There’s nothing extraordinarily dangerous about going to San Diego State, even on Halloween” Kaye said. He added that the last homicide to occur on campus was back in 1996 when a graduate student shot and killed three of his professors.
Play it safe
What it comes down to is that Halloween is a holiday. While people should have fun, Frawley reminds students that they should also be safe. He advised revelers to stay out of the street and make sure that they are wearing brightly colored clothing. Most importantly, Frawley said, anyone out on Halloween should arrange for a designated driver.