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The Daily Tar Heel

Police: Extra Cost for Halloween Worthwhile

But Chapel Hill Police Chief Gregg Jarvies told Chapel Hill Town Council members Monday night that safety should not be sacrificed to reduce the cost of policing Halloween and that the additional money was a necessary price to pay.

Last year more than 50,000 revelers turned out for Halloween, and the festivities cost the town $75,000, a figure that Jarvies said he hoped would decrease with stricter security measures announced in early October.

Jarvies attributed the increased cost to additional law enforcement on Franklin Street on Halloween night.

Chapel Hill spent $49,000 on more than 200 police officers, who were employed from outside jurisdictions including Morganton, Wilson, Henderson and Raleigh.

Jarvies said expanded traffic restrictions, also implemented this year, did not contribute greatly to the increase in cost.

Despite the fact that the cost of this year's celebration was higher than last year's, Jarvies said the new measures should be retained next year.

Jarvies told the council that the new traffic plan and the beefed-up security contributed to the town's successful control of the Halloween festivities.

"The amount of officers was sufficient for the crowd size this year," Jarvies said. "We will need to have at least the same amount of people next year."

Jarvies also said the traffic restrictions were necessary to keep the celebration controlled. From 8 p.m. until about 1:30 a.m., vehicles were restricted from the roads within a 1 1/2-mile radius of downtown Chapel Hill.

Jarvies reported that arrests were down 40 percent from last year's celebration. There also were fewer problems related to illegal parking or vandalism in nearby neighborhoods around the downtown area, he said.

Jarvies said he estimates that next year's Halloween costs will be approximately the same as this year's.

But Jarvies said the traffic diversion plan implemented this year still presents some problems. "The plan certainly was not perfect," he said. "There are still ways to try and improve it."

Town Council member Flicka Bateman reported at the meeting that she received complaints from residents who were unable to reach the Halloween celebration because of the traffic restrictions.

"I know that some people were upset about this," Bateman said. "I hope we can fix this problem for next year."

Jarvies said he agreed with Bateman's concern and also said a plan must be designed to minimize congestion at traffic diversion points.

"That's why we're holding the public forum," Jarvies said. "To see how we can do it better next year."

The Chapel Hill Police Department will hold the public forum at 6 p.m. Wednesday to hear the residents' comments and concerns about this year's Halloween celebration.

Residents also will be able to offer suggestions for next year's celebration.

Jarvies said "I'm looking forward to hearing the public input."

The City Editor can be reached at

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