The Daily Tar Heel
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The Daily Tar Heel

Unmasking rhetoric: Keeping out nonresidents won't fix Halloween

Chapel Hill officials have suggested keeping Halloween a local party to increase town safety.

But police reports analyzed by The Daily Tar Heel show that ""outsiders"" aren't the only ones committing crimes during Halloween.

Chapel Hill residents accounted for 35 percent of arrests in the last seven years.

These resident arrests included a higher proportion of violent crimes than their counterparts from a few miles down Tobacco Road.

If Chapel Hill residents are causing a good proportion of the arrests on Halloween" it doesn't make sense to assume that keeping the party strictly local will solve the problem of public safety.

And in 2001 when roadblocks prevented anyone more than a mile and a half away from driving into town Chapel Hill residents still committed crimes despite the event being much smaller.

The rhetoric we've been given by town officials is that a more local event is a safer event and the numbers just don't warrant that analysis.

Prohibiting outsiders would help to keep numbers on Franklin Street lower than in the past. A smaller Halloween event might be easier for police forces to manage potentially curbing overall crime.

 But limiting the number of attendants necessitates a significant amount of town resources and police force to keep nonresidents from coming to the street.

 The town should ensure that the extensive effort necessary to limit the number of guests on Halloween will translate to lower per-capita violent crime before it implements any of its suggestions.

Blocking off Franklin Street and only admitting residents would require significant police forces. It also wouldn't necessarily resolve the challenges faced by police forces on Halloween.

As long as the statistics do not show nonresidents causing more than their share of violent crime on Franklin Street the town should avoid knee-jerk and exclusionary rhetoric.

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