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University ramps up safety measures for Halloween celebrations, sees increased number of liquor law violations

Police and ambassadors will increase their presence through Tuesday night

University Police and Ambassadors plan to increase awareness and vigilance ahead of Trick-or-Treating on the Lawn and Halloween celebrations.
University Police and Ambassadors plan to increase awareness and vigilance ahead of Trick-or-Treating on the Lawn and Halloween celebrations.

Heightened numbers of University Police Department officers, security officers and Ambassadors were on patrol this weekend and will maintain an increased presence through Tuesday for Trick-or-Treating on the Lawn. During weekend celebrations, UPD reported six liquor law violations by underaged individuals and three other intoxication-related incidents.

In an email statement to The Cavalier Daily, Christopher Easton, assistant chief of police for UPD, said officers and ambassadors will be alert and ready to assist if needed for the community celebrating Halloween. There will be extra security and police officers at Trick-or-Treating on the Lawn. 

“There is always a lot of excitement and fun in the air around this time of year which brings a lot of students out,” Easton said. “The increased presence brings increased opportunities for accidents to occur.”

The University tradition of Trick-or-Treating on the Lawn — where Lawn residents and members of student organizations hand out candy to families from the Charlottesville community — will take place this Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Organizers moved the event an hour earlier than last year, citing safety and accessibility concerns.

Overall, Grounds has seen an increase in crimes, including murder, aggravated assault and motor vehicle theft since 2021, according to the University’s 2022 Fire Safety and Security Report. This follows a general rise in crime in Charlottesville.

This weekend, which saw many early Halloween celebrations, UPD reported six liquor law violations by overly intoxicated underaged individuals. An additional three reports involved overly intoxicated individuals, with one fondling incident and two drunkenness incidents.

This is an increase from the weekend before, which saw three liquor law violations and one charge of driving under the influence.

Ahead of this past weekend, Christopher Holstege, interim vice president and chief student affairs officer, sent an email to students Thursday with reminders of staying safe over the weekend and using alcohol responsibly. 

“We encourage you to make decisions this Halloween weekend that protect your health and safety and do not negatively affect friends and others,” Holstege said in his email. 

Student Council President Tichara Robertson also shared reminders in an email to be aware of avoiding insensitive or offensive costumes that invoke racism, cultural appropriation or insensitivity to victims. Robertson also said students should stay safe and make logical decisions.

“Between the additional police officers, security officers and ambassadors, there will be plenty of eyes and ears to assist as needed,” Easton said.

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