VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Halloween may be a few days away, but people will be dressing up and partying this weekend.
The Vancouver Police Department will have extra officers out on patrol.
“We will have an increased visible presence on the Granville Mall leading up to Halloween,” Cst. Jason Doucette said. “We normally see an increase of volume of people downtown, celebrating. We’re asking people to come down, enjoy yourself. But please use common sense.”
Doucette is also warning people who may be using drugs to be careful. “We are in the middle of an opiod crisis. If you are going to use, we ask people not to use alone.”
He emphasizes the importance of calling for help when it’s needed.
“If someone’s overdosing or you feel the effects of an overdose coming on, don’t be afraid that the police are going to show up and arrest you. Make the call. Emergency responders will come and help you.”
Fear of getting arrested appears to be a reason for people not calling for help in the past.
“We actually have a non-response policy to overdose calls at the VPD. We want people to feel comfortable calling for medical assistance, not worrying about being arrested for a relatively minor offense. We want people to get help and stay alive.”
Fraser Health is echoing that warning about drugs.
“We know now that the illegal drug supply has been contaminated with fentanyl,” said Dr. Aamir Bharmal. “This includes not only opioids like heroin, but also other drugs like cocaine and methamphetamines.”
The VPD is also warning people not to drive while impaired.
“If you plan on going out and having some drinks or consuming cannabis, plan ahead. Plan for a drive before you go out and for a ride home. It’s just the easiest thing to do and safest thing for everyone,” said Doucette.
“While cannabis is legalized, it’s still not safe to use it while driving,” Bharmal added.
Police are also asking you to use common sense when selecting a costume.
“If you have fake weapons, make sure they look fake,” said Doucette. “Put them away until you get to your destination.”
As for fireworks, they can only be used Halloween night and a permit is required to have and light them. They can only be used on private property.
Roman candles, bottle rockets and firecrackers are illegal. Using them could land you a $500 fine.
Parents can use reflective tape, glow sticks, or flashlights to ensure their kids and themselves are more visible Halloween night.
Drivers are reminded to slow down, be patient, and be extra-aware of excited trick-or-treaters, darting around neighbourhoods.
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– With files from Monika Gul and Hana Mae Nassar