UB Police expects to see increase of students in Heights this Halloween weekend
UPD says numbers to be similar to opening weekends
About a decade ago, University Police joined Buffalo police and the State Liquor Authority in a sting operation cracking down on students who charged admission into house parties on Halloween. Deputy Chief of Police Joshua Sticht said it was one of the busiest Halloween nights in the University Heights neighborhood he could remember.
Sticht said although he doesn’t foresee this Halloween to be nearly as busy, he still expects to see an increase in students roaming the Heights in search of Halloween parties.
According to Sticht, the student traffic in the Heights during Halloween weekends are comparable to the first couple weeks of the semesters. During the first few weeks of this semester, UB disciplined 57 students for partying in the Heights.
“We usually do see a large increase in foot traffic, especially on and around the South Campus,” Sticht said. “It’s kind of akin to one of the first weekends in the semester as far as how we’re going to be and how many people there are out.”
Sticht said UPD plans to maintain “more of a visible presence” on the night of Halloween.
Some students say they plan to avoid the Heights on Halloween due to the increase of patrol. Ben Saya, an exercise science major, said he usually stays away from parties in the Heights on Halloween.
Other students, like Adam Shumaker, a sophomore business major, may still visit the Heights on Halloween, but he said he’ll keep his options open.
“I’m definitely going to get really drunk, that’s for sure,” Shumaker said. “There’s a 50-50 chance I’ll go to the Heights, but I’ll probably just end up Villa hopping.”
With the potential increase in students wandering the Heights, Sticht said he also anticipates an increase in alcohol-related incidents like overdoses. Often times those calls are from Stampede bus drivers transporting students from South Campus.
If a student is so intoxicated that there may be a danger to their health, per the New York State Mental Hygiene Law, UPD has the authority to take the individual to the hospital, even if the student does not want to go.
If the student is underage, he or she is referred to Student Wide Judiciary (SWJ) to determine the consequence.
Often times, if an underage student is caught drinking, they must complete community service hours. If the student commits another crime, Sticht said the student may be charged in that case, but it depends on the situation.
Like the beginning of the semester, UPD will increase the number of officers working on Halloween. UPD plans to add an extra two-man patrol to assist Buffalo police should they need backup in the Heights and will have officers at Stampede bus stops as well.
Sticht said Halloween is normally the “last big hoorah” for the semester which is why UPD adds extra officers, but for him, Halloween is a fun night to work.
“Halloween is one of those things we always prepare for and then the end of the night we let out a collective sigh of relief that there really wasn’t anything major,” Sticht said. “Usually it’s just another night.”