Property crime spikes on Halloween night

Posted at 6:15 PM, Oct 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-31 21:45:46-04

While your children are prowling for candy, thieves out there are prowling for goodies stashed in your home.

Property crime increases by 24 percent on Halloween night, according to reports released by Travelers Insurance, which tracks thefts by the number of claims filed on Halloween night. That is more than any other night of the year.

Vandalism also goes up by more than 20 percent on Oct. 31.

Detective Nik Rasheta, a spokesman for the Mesa Police Department, called it a crime of opportunity. Many people turn their porch lights off on Halloween night if they do not want to be bothered by trick-or-treaters, indicating no one is home-- this is a welcome sign for thieves. Police advised leaving your porch lights on.

Also, do not announce your plans for the eve on social media accounts. You never know who is reading those posts.

And be aware of your cars. There is also an increase in car break-ins. If you do leave for trick-or-treating, make sure to remove all valuables from your vehicle and activate your home security systems.

Many people choose to trick or treat earlier in the day. The businesses in downtown Mesa opened their doors to trick-or-treaters on Halloween afternoon, handing out candy and toys to those with allergies. The event was targeting young toddlers, whose parents were concerned about trick-or-treating in the dark.

"Every year the event has grown. This year, we had over 1,000 kids so far and we still have over an hour left," said Courtney Garrity, of the Downtown Mesa Association.

In addition to property and personal safety, parents also worried about candy handed to them by strangers.

"When you trick-or-treat on Main Street, you know where your candy is coming from. It's coming from mom and pop stores, who are buying from local businesses," said Erica Snyder, of the Downtown Mesa Association.