Police: crime up compared to October 2014

Temple Police reported an 18 percent rise in incidents from last year’s Halloween.

Halloween weekend had an almost 18 percent increase in reported crime from last year’s Halloween, close to October’s overall 17 percent increase from 2014, according to data provided by Temple Police. The data also showed a crime spike every weekend, the highest happening in conjunction with home football games this year.

The three most common crimes during October included underage consumption and possession of illegal substances, harassment, and thefts and robberies. Criminal mischief, which includes crimes like the destruction of property, vandalism and graffiti, was also common. Between 2014 and 2015, specific crimes occurred at the same rates, but the overall number of incidents increased.

The largest jump between this year and last year was in bike thefts, which went from a total of 16 in 2014 to 31 this October. The highest rate of crime both years was between the month’s final weekend and Halloween.

Executive Director of Public Safety Charlie Leone said Temple Police had help from the Philadelphia Police Department and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board for Halloween weekend. The three departments have combined forces a total of five times this year.

“We have more resources this semester,” Leone said, adding the trends of the past three years have helped prepare the department for what to expect. Patrols during Halloween weekend were doubled this year to deal with the combination of the Temple-Notre Dame football game and the holiday.

“Saturday was a particularly heavy night,” Leone said. “Everybody was leaving at one particular time, at around 12:30 [a.m.], 12:45 and they were already in costume from the game, so they went to party. And then with daylight savings, they got an extra hour.”

Leone said there was a new jump of activity on Gratz Street near Berks with large parties. As more Temple students take up residence on the block and fewer long time community members live there, the number and magnitude of parties has increased, Leone said.

Temple Police interfered on Gratz last weekend when more than 300 people crowded the streets.

“People were throwing bottles and trash,” Leone said. “A car was damaged—people were hitting the windows and making dents in the car.”

Leone said there were no other “major issues” due to the heavy presence of enforcement, adding he was glad nothing big happened to take away from the “positive spotlight” of recent weeks.

“Our goal isn’t to go out and do a certain number of citations,” Leone said. “As always, it’s to make sure the students are safe, and it all goes back to personal safety. Be safe in social settings, have a buddy system, that sort of thing.”

Over Halloween weekend, Temple Police sent out tweets with the slogan “Don’t Stall, Just Call,” to increase awareness of medical amnesty. Efforts to raise awareness of the service have increased during the past two years.

Leone said most people who called medical amnesty were sent to the hospital, including around 12 students who were ejected from Lincoln Financial Field during the football game against the University of Notre Dame.

“We work closely with security [at Lincoln Financial Field] because it’s a university-sanctioned event,” Leone said.

He added holidays tend to change crime patterns, and Halloween is no exception.

“Criminals love anonymity,” Leone said. “They love coming out and taking advantage of wearing a mask.”

Julie Christie can be reached at julie.christie@temple.edu or on Twitter @ChristieJules.

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