Bird Rock should be a safe haven for trick-or-treaters, their guardians and residents alike on Halloween thanks to a proactive community and the cooperation of local police.
Their efforts range from providing a high-profile police presence, complete with a mobile command post, to limiting trick-or-treating hours to 5 to 8 p.m. Enforcement of the social host ordinance prohibiting and penalizing adults serving alcohol to minors is also being stressed.
The neighborhood-centered community with lots of young families has increasingly become a hot spot for children on Halloween night. Those who live there say the changes have paid off.
“We probably have a couple thousand kids and I go through 55 bags of candy,” said Rod Coon, who has a porch party for adults who pass out goodies to children.
Past problemsCoon said Halloweens in his community haven’t always been trouble-free.
“Four to six years ago the Bird Rock Bandits (gang) egged my house,” he said. “There were a couple of dicey years. The Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC) and the police department really have done a good job keeping things under control.”
“We get a ton of trick or treaters,” agreed Bird Rock resident Pamela Garvey, who buys more than 200 candy bars to supply the goodie demand.
“We always run out,” she said, adding the heightened police presence the last three Halloweens has fostered a “calmer, family friendly atmosphere.”
Off at 8 o’clockMichelle Fulks, spokeswoman for the council’s Neighborhood Watch Group, implored residents giving out candy to turn off their lights promptly at 8 p.m. and bring in their pumpkins and other holiday decorations.
Fulks said teen crime became such a problem on Halloween night that stricter measures were needed.
“Halloween is the worst night for the police department,” Fulks noted. “Things had been getting out of hand year after year. Four years ago, we had a knife fight between a La Jolla High and a Bishop’s student. We’ve also had teenagers using rocket launchers to launch water balloons and eggs at mothers pushing strollers.”
Out in forceLt. Jim Filley of the San Diego Police Department promised a high-profile law enforcement presence in Bird Rock Halloween night.
“Halloween is on a Friday night so we anticipate lots of parties and lots of people,” he said. “We’re going to be doing something similar to what worked last year, adding some more police personnel, having retired senior volunteers.”
He said he’s also planning to have college students in uniform to assist.
“We’re going to light up that neighborhood,” he said, “and be very present. Hopefully it will be a nice family environment for that night and we won’t have some of the past issues that we’ve had in Bird Rock.”