New Jersey Police Chief encourages you to be safe and responsible on Halloween this year
There are all kinds of ghosts, goblins, scary creatures, motifs, decorations, and so forth which is part of what makes folklore fun at Halloween.
It's okay to have fun but while you're out trick-or-treating with the kids, going to and from Halloween parties, or enjoying any other part of Halloween festivities make sure that you're being responsible and safe.
For some helpful reminders and advice to one and all for Halloween and year-round topics, Jackson Township Police Chief Matthew Kunz joined us on 'Shore Time with Vin and Dave' on Sunday morning on 94.3 The Point and 105.7 The Hawk to discuss Halloween safety, motor vehicle thefts/car burglaries, speeding, drinking and driving/drugged driving, police-community relations and more.
"It's a great time of year, fun as we go into the fall, people like to go out and have a good time and celebrate Halloween in different ways and certainly we support that and we want to make sure everybody is having fun and is indeed safe when they're enjoying their Halloween celebrations," Chief Kunz tells Townsquare Media.
When it comes to trick-or-treating, be sure to follow safety measures for your kid's costumes and in checking their candy, as the FDA points out.
Jackson is a pretty big township with all kinds of space, something to keep in mind going out trick-or-treating.
"Make sure they're wearing bright and reflective items on their costumes so that they are plainly visible, we'd like you to go out and do your trick-or-treating in well-lit areas, preferably areas with sidewalks. I refer to Jackson as quasi-rural and there are a lot of areas in town that don't have sidewalks and we really don't want to see parents or kids by the side of the road," Chief Kunz said. "Fortunately though, a lot of them do migrate to the more developed areas, which are densely populated as well, so, they accomplish two things: that they are safer, and, another is that they're able to go to more homes in a shorter span of time, thus, achieving one of their objectives in seeing how much candy they take in during that trick-or-treating."
The trick-or-treating experience is always a fun time and for adults/parents part of is watching your kids dress up in fun costumes and go get some candy and walk around, but, while there is fun to be had, there's also a responsibility for parents.
"It's important for the parents to remember why they're out there, they're out there to keep an eye on their kids, keep them safe, hopefully, they're in a nice group and they're not allowing kids to go out on their own, but, sometimes we see that parents have their own separate celebration, maybe they have kids in tow and they're bringing with them some adult beverages," Chief Kunz said. "We don't recommend that, for a number of reasons, focus on the kids, stay safe, and save the adult drinking games for when you get home after a good and successful day of trick-or-treating. Also, most towns have ordinances prohibiting the open carry of alcohol containers. Let's just make this about the kids, stay safe, be responsible."
In Jackson Township, Chief Kunz said that their school resource officers and PD have been going into classrooms of late to go over these safety measures and more with the children.
"Our resource officers and police officers conduct visits in all of our elementary schools -- where they cover a lot of topics including Halloween safety," Chief Kunz said. "We show a video to the children on costume safety, masks, props -- common sense stuff on how to cross the street at intersections with adults, carrying an illumination device (flashlights, glowsticks, or reflective tape) and to even conduct some skits/role play with the students to reinforce the lessons that they're trying to bring them on safety."
There is, of course, always and obviously a lot of pedestrian foot traffic on Halloween for trick-or-treating and there are safety measures and responsibilities that fall on parents, pedestrians, and drivers.
"I would note that our department (Jackson PD) as most do, we try and concentrate our patrols in those residential areas during Halloween and trick-or-treating because that's where we're going to have a significant uptick in pedestrian activity and we've been assisted in the last several years by the Ocean County Sheriff's Department that also deploys a lot of their staff into residential patrols, again, just to make sure that everyone is being safe," Chief Kunz said.
In many residential neighborhoods anyway, the speed limit is 25 mph, but on Halloween with trick-or-treating or another activity going on, you may have to slow down a little bit more.
"There's going to be a lot more pedestrian activity, and, with so many people out and about, they might not be crossing the street in expected places, they might be darting across the roadway rather than at intersections or intersections that are assisted by a stoplight or pedestrian crossing signal, so, you do need to be a little extra concerned," Chief Kunz said. "To that point, we'll also have extra patrols in the residential areas, not only watching out for our trick-or-treaters but, observing vehicle traffic to make sure it is compliant with the speed limit."
You can listen to the full interview conversation with Jackson Police Chief Matthew Kunz on 'Shore Time with Vin and Dave' on 94.3 The Point and 105.7 The Hawk, right here.