Halloween marks an increase in the number of crimes reported to police, especially violent offences and property violations, but the same spike in criminal activity doesn’t affect Ryerson, security personnel say.
“We have not noticed a trend in increased incidents from a Halloween weekend to any other weekend with parties happening on or around campus,” said Tanya Fermin-Poppleton, manager of Ryerson security and emergency services.
Statistics Canada cites a general increase in the number of criminal incidents reported to police on Oct. 31, compared with Oct. 24. Last year, Halloween marked a four per cent increase in the number of reported criminal incidents. The majority of incidents were violations against property at 52.6 per cent, followed by violations against the person at 15.9 per cent.
Ryerson security officers will patrol the campus in full force on Halloween to ensure student safety and reduce the likelihood of such incidents.
“We do try to have a street presence during pub hours and hours when students are returning to residence to ensure our community leave and arrive safe,” said Fermin-Poppleton.
However, there will not be extra officers on duty at this time. Seven officers patrol the campus daily, in addition to residence security staff.
The increase in criminal incidents during Halloween last year is consistent with the increase of reported incidents during Halloween 2011.
Two years ago, Halloween marked a 26 per cent increase in violent offences, such as robbery, assaults with a weapon and sexual assault, compared with incidents reported a week earlier. Reports of property violations including arson, theft and general mischief increased by 21 per cent. Drug violations reported to police increased by 13 per cent. This data provided by police services represents 99 per cent of the Canadian population.
Ryerson security works with Toronto police throughout the year regarding incidents concerning community safety. Bulletins issued by Toronto police are posted regularly online under Ryerson Security Watch.
“If we hear of a concern that may happen on or near campus we would advise Toronto Police Service and they typically would either let their staff know or have staff in the area depending on what they find when they look into it,” said Fermin-Poppleton. “If a situation is too large for my staff to handle, Toronto Police Service would be called immediately for assistance.”
In addition to safety reminders issued to security staff working the graveyard shift, Fermin-Poppleton compiled a list of safety tips exclusively for The Ryersonian.
So, before you hit the gritty streets dressed in your ghoulish best, check Ryerson security’s top 10 tips to stay safe this Halloween:
1. Walk to parties, use a cab or have a designated driver.
2. Attend festivities with a friend or tell someone where you will be.
3. Think about wearing a costume that you can see clearlyout of, that isn’t a tripping hazard and that allows you to be visible in low light.
4. Avoid drinks that you did not see being prepared or opened.
5. Always know where your friends are.
6. Avoid being alone with a person you’ve just met.
7. Feel free to use Ryerson’s Walk Safe program while travelling through campus, by dialing ext. 5040 or using one of the many blue pole stations around campus.
8. Avoid dark routes.
9. Program Ryerson security’s main number (416-979-5040) in your cell and even if you are off campus and you are in difficulty after calling 911, call it.
10. Have fun.