Ghouls and ghosts may be the only things terrorizing the streets this Halloween as crime is not expected to escalate above the norm. The Virginia Tech community is preparing for a safe and enjoyable holiday with the hopes of no increase in the crime rate.

?We on campus have not had any unusual instances or spike in crime or drinking on Halloween,? said Debra Duncan, chief of the Virginia Tech Police Department. ?I would assume that partying increases on Halloween, but our crime statistics for drinking is not more on Halloween than on other days.?

The Blacksburg Police Department reminds residents what Halloween is all about as many Virginia Tech students may tend to lose sight of its purpose.

?Halloween is not an official holiday; merely a recognized tradition that?s enjoyed in various forms all over the world, said Sgt. Jerry Bowyer, crime prevention officer for the Blacksburg police department. ?We?ve been quite fortunate over the years to have relatively minimal criminal occurrences on Halloween in Blacksburg. Still, persons of adult age, which of course include our college community, must be aware that there is a big difference between having fun and choosing to engage in malicious acts of trickery.?

Officer Geof Allen, crime prevention and analysis officer for the campus police said that in comparison to other days throughout the year, Halloween is barely different than any other day.

?I ran four different randomly picked dates out of the last three years and compared them with October 31. It?s not even close to comparing to a football game or check-in week,? Allen said. ?It?s very minimal. For example, we only had four arrests on October 31 in 2003 and only three arrests on the same date in 2004. On any given Thursday or Friday night you could have four arrests. That?s no big deal.?

The Blacksburg Police Department recognizes the presence of different gestures that will come about on Halloween such as acts of mischief, but the important thing is to simply keep them under control.

?There will always be pranks and the like and often they will get out of hand,? said Lt. Bruce Bradbery, public information officer for the Blacksburg police. ?Fortunately, we?ve been able to quell any major issues pretty quickly. We typically do not add additional personnel to shifts, but as always they?re available if needed.?

Officers said they want to remind students of the university the responsibilities that come with being a member of the Blacksburg community.

Virginia Tech is a major university with an international reputation for research and development among other commendable endeavors that?s often, unfortunately, overshadowed by the extreme party behavior of a smaller percentage of its students, Bowyer said.

?As students and adults of a leading university each individual has an opportunity to set an example for others to follow, not only during daily academic pursuits but on Halloween and other holidays as well,? Bowyer said. ?It?s a matter of simply choosing to be responsible and remembering that whatever one chooses to do today may affect all of his or her subsequent tomorrows.?

As usual, as far as safety of children and trick-or-treaters goes, caution must be used to insure a fun Halloween night.

?The good news is that most accidents and injuries can be prevented if the evening is planned with safety in mind,? Bowyer said.

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