The University of Illinois Police Department wants to remind anyone celebrating Halloween this weekend that it is not a good idea to carry weapons on campus, whether it is part of a costume or not.
Police officers plan to treat any threat the same as they would on a typical weekend. Wearing a costume is not an excuse to carry any prop that may make others feel uncomfortable. Even fake weapons are easily confused with the real thing, so Halloween celebrants should use extreme discretion when putting a costume together.
Pranksters will be held accountable for their crimes, too. It is unlawful to put anyone in a position where they reasonably believe their safety is at risk. Prank or not, these crimes will be taken as seriously as the real thing.
"We want students and others to enjoy themselves during the Halloween weekend," said Executive Director of Public Safety Jeff Christensen. "A key part of making that happen is ensuring that everyone remains safe and comfortable. We won't tolerate anything that might be perceived as a threat to someone's safety."
The University of Illinois Police Department will utilize uniformed patrol officers as well as targeted response officers in a plain clothes capacity to ensure that this weekend is safe and enjoyable for all. However, any behaviors that put the campus community at risk will result in enforcement action that could result in arrest, citation or administrative sanction through the University. Community members are encouraged to contact 911 if they observe any incident or situation that requires police intervention.
Students are encouraged to keep a few things in mind if they plan on being out:
• If you're hosting a party or friends for the weekend, know who is staying with you. This includes knowing who your roommates' friends are.
• Choose your costumes wisely. Anything that can be confused with a real weapon puts you and others in danger.
• Don't drink to excess. Intoxication makes you more vulnerable to becoming a victim of crime.
• Care for your friends. If someone has consumed alcohol or other intoxicating substances to the point that they are in a medical emergency, call 911 immediately and follow the call-taker's instructions for intermediate care until professional help can arrive.
• Don't walk alone. Save 217-333-1216 for SafeWalks in your contacts if you find yourself needing a friendly group with whom you can walk.
• Call 911 if you notice suspicious or dangerous behavior.
The University of Illinois Police is working aggressively with the Champaign Police Department to address the recent criminal activity in the campus district and will work to keep the community informed about our efforts.
Members of the campus community are strongly encouraged to follow these safety tips to decrease their potential for becoming a victim:
-Stay alert - call the police immediately to report suspicious activity and/or if this subject is observed.
-Trust your instincts - if it does not feel right, call for help.
-Avoid walking alone at night. Travel in groups when possible and always walk in well-lit, heavily traveled areas.
-Turn down your electronic devices. Excessive volume or use of electronic devices (iPods, PDAs, cell phones, etc.) can distract you from potential safety hazards.
-If you choose to consume alcohol, please drink moderately - remember your ability to respond is diminished by over-consumption of alcohol.
It is our privilege to serve the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign community of approximately 53,000 people including: undergraduate students, graduate and professional students, faculty members, academic professionals and staff members, as well as our visitors.
Read the full welcome from Chief Christensen