Halloween, Chico style

Look for police uniforms to once again be the dominant costume in downtown Chico on Halloween.

The Chief’s Advisory Board met Oct. 7 in Bell Memorial Union to discuss Halloween weekend policing plans, emphasizing the zero-tolerance approach used in recent years with increasing success to patrol downtown and pretty much squelch the party atmosphere.

Chico police will bring in additional staffing on Friday and Saturday night of the Halloween weekend, including sergeant aid officers, transport officers, holding facility personnel and transport vans. The police are advertising that hundreds of law enforcement officers will be on duty, sobriety and glass checkpoints will be set up in the downtown area, and DUI checkpoints are expected on major roads. Police will be armed with Tasers, which Chief Bruce Hagerty described as “a great weapon.”

Police are trying to encourage people to have house parties rather than gather and party in public spaces. The city is not providing portable toilets or additional lighting in the downtown area. Hagerty says the goal is to have Halloween be “just another night in Chico.”

But the chief warned that non-holiday nights in Chico have become increasingly violent.

“We’re having the criminal element coming to the south campus area and downtown area, looking to fit in with parties, not fitting in, and then either attacking people or committing crime,” he said.

Once the parties are located by the uninvited and undesirable people, “they’ll get on their cell phone and put out a text message,” thus increasing party sizes, said Hagerty. “These are serious-offender types, gangbanger types, people who are armed.”

According to police, longtime residents of the south campus area have said that this year has been “over the top” with the amount of vandalism and violent behavior.

“We want our students to have fun,” Hagerty said. “We don’t want our students to become victims of crime.”

If unwanted “guests” show up at these parties, the police want to help remove them in order to keep the students safe.

Police are also seeking volunteers to help keep "Halloween safe for everyone." For volunteering information, contact the Chico police at 895-4919.