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Halloween, Salem style

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
From today's (10/30/06) Salem Evening News, one of the many reasons (there seem to be more and more each year) why I no longer enjoy Halloween in my city:

Police on the lookout for gang activity at Halloween

By Tom Dalton
Staff writer

SALEM - A law enforcement team that knows the players and street colors will be working undercover Halloween night looking for youth gangs who may be coming here to make trouble.
Tipped by sources about possible gang plans, Salem police say they are taking no chances. They have assembled an 18-member team of police from several area departments, as well as parole officers and state Department of Youth Services employees, to mingle with the tens of thousands of Halloween revelers expected here tomorrow night.

"We believe that North of Boston gangs may be looking to make Salem a focal point of gang activity this Halloween night," Salem police Chief Robert St. Pierre said after meeting Friday with law enforcement personnel from more than a dozen North Shore and Greater Boston communities.

The chief declined to provide specific details but said his department has been in contact with police officers specializing in gangs in Chelsea and Lynn and also with parole, prison and youth services sources.

St. Pierre, who has met with Mayor Kim Driscoll, said he does not want to frighten the public or keep crowds away but feels that his first responsibility is to public safety.

"We're not looking to panic anybody," the chief said, "but the situation is such that we feel we need to share this information with the community. ... In the post-9/11 era, we have to keep people informed."

Capt. Paul Tucker, who is overseeing the police operation Halloween night, said they are taking every step to make sure the city is safe. The nearly 200 personnel working Halloween night will be briefed and given information packets on the gangs. Photos of gang members and their police records will be available in the mobile command vehicle being used here for the first time.

The special law enforcement team will try to stop trouble before it starts, the chief said, by picking up gang members on outstanding warrants or for parole or curfew violations. They also will be monitoring undisclosed "hot spots."

Salem has not had gang problems at past Halloweens, police said. However, last year's celebration was marred by two stabbings, numerous fistfights and more than a dozen arrests. Most occurred after 10 p.m. as police started to clear the crowds.

Area gang activity has increased in recent weeks, police said. In particular, they have received information about youths in Lynn, Peabody and Chelsea.

"The information has definitely spiked," said Tucker, the head of detectives.

The gang threat is not from Salem youths, according to police.

"I think the biggest problem we face is going to be outside influences," Tucker said. "Some of what we are picking up is that gangs are coming here to cause some problems - they're going looking for trouble."

Despite the warnings, Tucker agreed with the chief that crowds should come to Salem on Halloween night and have fun. But he did offer a word of caution.

"Parents should think twice about having their children unsupervised downtown," he said. Asked why he would give that warning, Tucker said: "We're erring on the side of caution."

Note from Betsy: This is ridiculous - GANGS???!!!???!!! We are a small suburban town of about 40,000 residents, and until just recently, gangs were almost unheard of in our area. Just recently, there was an illegal immigrant roundup, and several were members of gangs like the Crips or worse.

So much for pleasant small-town living! By the way - they are estimating between 40-60,000 people will be coming into town tomorrow night for a whole two hours worth of wandering the downtown. Makes zero sense to me - we more than double our population and enlarge our law enforcement by 100 times over, just for a stupid TWO-HOUR PERIOD OF TIME?!?!?!

Arrrgghh. Is it any wonder I've become anti-Halloween. Bah-PUMPKIN!
post #2 of 24
I'm just hoping my car dosn't get egged!
or pumpkined.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
And I have to worry about my daughter getting knifed by a gang member.

My mom only ever worried about me getting tainted candy.

What's wrong with this picture, I ask you!
post #4 of 24
I have a soft spot in my heart for Salem, because that's where our daughter was conceived, on Father's Day no less!

I'm sorry to hear about the troubles there around Halloween. Unfortunately, I guess it's not a big surprise. It's a beautiful little town. Do the residents of Salem still eat a lot of rye bread? (That was a joke, not meant to offend.)

Cheers, from
SwampWitch
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by GingersMom View Post
And I have to worry about my daughter getting knifed by a gang member.

My mom only ever worried about me getting tainted candy.

What's wrong with this picture, I ask you!
Well, they both suck, and they are both potentially deadly - but thankfully, they are also both unlikely.
post #6 of 24
Welcome to Memphis! The ganges are aweful here! So much so that children haven't trick or treated in my neighborhood in 5 years! It's just not safe anymore. Last year my sister and I took her kids to a church haloween party as an alternative because it was safer than having them out on the street at night. I would recommend that as an alternative if gangs/crime are an issue in your area.IT's an excellent alternative- they still get candy, and they get to hang out with other kids in the safety of a nice building with their parents there. (I'm passing out candy tomorrow at Colin's house in Bartlett- next city over- it's really safe out here, but in my neighborhood- there won't be any trick or treaters.)
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampWitch View Post
I have a soft spot in my heart for Salem, because that's where our daughter was conceived, on Father's Day no less!

I'm sorry to hear about the troubles there around Halloween. Unfortunately, I guess it's not a big surprise. It's a beautiful little town. Do the residents of Salem still eat a lot of rye bread? (That was a joke, not meant to offend.)

Cheers, from
SwampWitch
Personally I hate Rye bread, LOL.

I believe it was the ergot, and not the bread itself, that potentially caused the hallucinations. As they used the grain in more than just bread, there is a good possibility that the entire town was dellusional - it's a darn good explanation, anyway!

"Up there! I see a little yellow bird!"
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryEyedTiGeR View Post
Welcome to Memphis! The ganges are aweful here! So much so that children haven't trick or treated in my neighborhood in 5 years! It's just not safe anymore. Last year my sister and I took her kids to a church haloween party as an alternative because it was safer than having them out on the street at night. I would recommend that as an alternative if gangs/crime are an issue in your area.IT's an excellent alternative- they still get candy, and they get to hang out with other kids in the safety of a nice building with their parents there. (I'm passing out candy tomorrow at Colin's house in Bartlett- next city over- it's really safe out here, but in my neighborhood- there won't be any trick or treaters.)
That's so sad. Necessary, of course, and a good alternative - but still sad.

It was always really nice to go around on Halloween to all the neighbours' houses trick-or-treating. I loved seeing everybodies' homes and their decorations and the costumes if the grown-ups dressed up. I didn't really like candy much as a kid (still not much of a fan) - it was the dressing up and the going door to door that was the fun part for me.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satai View Post
Well, they both suck, and they are both potentially deadly - but thankfully, they are also both unlikely.
Actually, no, my daughter has a much higher likelihood of being stabbed while wandering our downtown in a costume. It is not only likely to occur (maybe not to my child, but to someone's!) it HAS occured. There were two stabbings downtown last year, and one of the people stabbed almost died.

This is what I was trying to present to you all - you get a rose-colored view of the city and its "festivities" when you aren't a resident here, but it is VERY scary, and not in the good Halloween scary sense!
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryEyedTiGeR View Post
Welcome to Memphis! The ganges are aweful here! So much so that children haven't trick or treated in my neighborhood in 5 years! It's just not safe anymore. Last year my sister and I took her kids to a church haloween party as an alternative because it was safer than having them out on the street at night. I would recommend that as an alternative if gangs/crime are an issue in your area.IT's an excellent alternative- they still get candy, and they get to hang out with other kids in the safety of a nice building with their parents there. (I'm passing out candy tomorrow at Colin's house in Bartlett- next city over- it's really safe out here, but in my neighborhood- there won't be any trick or treaters.)
That's SO sad.

They did trick-or-treating here last night, and the streets were very quiet. More and more, people are doing just that - organizing indoor events for the kids where they will stay safely supervised.
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by GingersMom View Post
This is what I was trying to present to you all - you get a rose-colored view of the city and its "festivities" when you aren't a resident here, but it is VERY scary, and not in the good Halloween scary sense!
Do you have friends or cousins in a nearby town or suburb with whom you could go instead of going downtown?
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satai View Post
Do you have friends or cousins in a nearby town or suburb with whom you could go instead of going downtown?
Oh, I'm not going anywhere NEAR the downtown area, and my daughter is 22 years old - what she does is her own prerogative. That doesn't mean I won't worry about her.

On Halloween night, I hole up tight in my home with all the doors and windows locked up and all the lights turned OFF. That's after it takes me 2 hours to drive the 20 minute commute home from work. It takes 2 hours on this night because of the extra 50,000 people all trying to get into my city during rush hor.

I went into the downtown ONCE several years ago in costume on a Halloween night since they started this silly Mardi-Gras-like festival, and had a panic attack in the middle of the crowd because it was so wall-to-wall people that I literally couldn't breathe - a friend of mine elbowed folks out of our way and got me out of the crowd and to the edges where there was actual room to breathe again.

It's so ridiculous - and it's only from 8-10 p.m.! At 10 p.m., the mounted policemen from Boston form lines and start herding people out of the downtown area like cattle. It doesn't matter if you live in the opposite direction, you go the way the mounted police demand that you go or you get arrested!

Traffic is gridlocked for hours upon hours while drunken costumed tourists climb over people's cars as they're stopped in traffic that goes nowhere - drunks urinate on people's front lawns, the entire city gets TRASHED in a matter of about 3-4 hours, and that's when nothing BAD actually happens!!!

My point is, people, while it may sound like the fun thing to do, it really isn't the best way to spend Halloween night. Not in Salem, Massachusetts, anyway.
post #13 of 24
It's sad....but it would definitely be more sad to hear of another child being kidnapped or killed on the news as a result of going door to door on halloween- I think sometimes people throw caution to the wind on halloween and are less cautious than they would normally be about going to strangers houses. So while it is sad, the alternatives are definitely safer. I would feel much better knowing a child were at a safe community place like a church or school on halloween, rather than out on the streets in Memphis- it's just not safe at all....not to mention the amount of registered offenders in the area (those are just the ones who are registered too! not counting the ones who aren't......www.familywatchdog.us ) It's just not safe in my neighborhood for children, so I'm definitely glad parents don't risk it and send their kids out. / Colin lives in a city over from Memphis- it's realllllllllllly nice - Bartlett, and fairly safe- so the neighbohood gets together and all of the houses who allow tricker treaters leave their lights on and put a little ghost cut out on the door -so the parents know which house is safe and which isn't. We had a lot of trick or treaters at Colin's last year. But none at my house in the past 5 yrs. This year the police station that Colin works for is doing "Trunk or Treat" as an alternative to trick or treating. The officers are filling the truncks of their cars with candy and the parents bring their kids to the police station as an alternative community event to trick or treating The kids go car to car and get candy. They also get to meet the police officers (It helps teach them that cops are friends, and you should call them if you need help). I definitely think some of the new alternatives to trick or treating are better in a rough city like Memphis. That way kids stay safe and parents are there to supervise
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by GingersMom View Post
my daughter is 22 years old
Sorry, thought she was little and that you guys must live in the city centre!
post #15 of 24
Let's all send some "be safe" vibes for tomorrow night - not just for Salem, but I think this covers everyone since there are gangs, sex offenders, and just plain messed up psycho people everywhere. I hope everyone has a safe Halloween tomorrow. Remember - large groups for safety and lots of lights on your kids!
Gingersmom - I hope all goes ok tomorrow. I can't imagine doubling the size of my town for one night. It must be awful! I'll keep you and your daughter in my thoughts and hope nothing comes of the gang member threats the police are concerned about.
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satai View Post
Sorry, thought she was little and that you guys must live in the city centre!
That's ok! I did live in the center of town for many years, but fortunately I was able to move out to one of the borders, so I'm very lucky and don't feel completely trapped anymore like I used to!

If my daughter were still little, I'd do what my friends are doing with my nieces: taking them to another town, 5 or 6 towns away, for trick-or-treating. It's their grandmother's neighborhood, and MUCH safer than Salem is today.
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisasha3 View Post
Let's all send some "be safe" vibes for tomorrow night - not just for Salem, but I think this covers everyone since there are gangs, sex offenders, and just plain messed up psycho people everywhere. I hope everyone has a safe Halloween tomorrow. Remember - large groups for safety and lots of lights on your kids!
Gingersmom - I hope all goes ok tomorrow. I can't imagine doubling the size of my town for one night. It must be awful! I'll keep you and your daughter in my thoughts and hope nothing comes of the gang member threats the police are concerned about.
I think that sending out "be safe" vibes for all little ones everywhere tomorrow night is a GREAT idea!!! Mine are on the way!

And yes, you know, I really do think it's crazy - a month long build up for a two hour non-event. Oh well - ce la vie!!!
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by GingersMom View Post
I think that sending out "be safe" vibes for all little ones everywhere tomorrow night is a GREAT idea!!! Mine are on the way!
Mine are on the way as well.
post #19 of 24
I always get freaked out when I'm driving home on Halloween night..Eeeek!
post #20 of 24
Better kick those "be safe" vibes into overdrive because we just had the scare of our lives. I was at a board of directors meeting tonite for my kids sports club (only 10 minutes away) when my daughter called me crying hysterically. Someone had been knocking on our back door for almost 30 minutes and wouldn't stop. Her sister was upstairs in her room and my younger one was downstairs in my room (they are 15 and 12 1/2 btw). I told them both to get together in my room and just sit quietly in a corner with the phone and I called the police...then I raced to my house! Didn't take me 10 minutes to get home, I"ll tell you that much. I drove in to find 2 cruisers and a motorcycle cop scouting all the yards around us and my yard. They found nothing but a few scratches on my back door (but those could have been there). We all went in to check on my kids. They were scared, but ok.
I forgot it was cabbage night tonite and it was probably only a bunch of neighborhood kids or their friends or something, but either way.....it was terrying to them and too me racing home afraid of who might be there!!!
post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
I would have been terrified!!! Thank goodness they were okay and that the police responded so well!

Uhm...what's "cabbage night?"
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by GingersMom View Post
I would have been terrified!!! Thank goodness they were okay and that the police responded so well!

Uhm...what's "cabbage night?"
Yeah....I was terrified. I couldn't get home fast enough. Police station is right down the street from my house. Takes them less than 30 seconds to get to my house (so I would have been very upset had they NOT been there when I got home). I love living that close. Anything happens..anything at all and they are there in a flash. Gives you a great sense of security.

As for cabbage night...that's the night before Halloween. I guess we all grew up calling it something, for me it was cabbage night. I guess that started years and years ago when my parents (or grandparents) were very young. It was called cabbage night because kids went out and caused trouble with cabbage. These days it's trouble with toilet paper and eggs....maybe it should be changed to toiletpaper night.
Anyways, we made it through cabbage night ok (other than our scare). Only trouble I could see the next morning were the toilet papered trees at the high school. Cops tend to patrol that night very heavily.
How did you make it through Halloween? I know it's still only 10:30, but is all going ok so far? It must be nuts up there!!
post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
Well, all was quite in my neighborhood, fortunately, but all evening I heard sirens going.

Woke up this morning to hear on the news that there were two stabbings and 47 arrests.

Our city spends a ridiculous amount of money on outside law enforcement, anti-gang stuff, mounted police, etc., and the city itself operates this event at a loss as a result of law enforcement and clean-up expenses.

Yet in the middle of winter, they cry poor mouth when there's no more money for snow removal. What's wrong with this picture?

I'm wondering how many more people need to be stabbed and how much more money needs to be spent for a stupid two-hour event before the city wakes up and decides to end this silliness.

I wish they would give Halloween back to the children of this city.

But hey - who am I? Just a resident, no tourist dollars coming from me, so I guess my opinion (and that of all those residents who agree with me) don't count.

Baaaah pumpkin.
post #24 of 24
We only go in our 6 block square, and the little culdesac's. We know all of the neighbors. And even though some of them are trashy (like my inlaws) I just skip those houses, but none of them would ever do anything to a child....they'd only sleep with your husband . It's like Wysteria Lane. However, I did see 1 lunatic drive by us, stop in the middle of the st (while we were waiting to cross) reverse at 40mph, stop again and turn his headlights off (still in the middle of the road) and wait. I think it was a husband spying on his wife, or ex wife. And there was 1 cop (unmarked car) fly at like 60mph down our quiet st. Sirens blaring...I'm thinking cop or no cop you jerkoff, I'm walking with my deaf 4 yr old neice, what if she ran into the street! And there are "caution deaf child" signs up too.
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