A warning for all students looking to party hard for Halloween this weekend: in an attempt to decrease the amount of students partying, fines will be doubled.
San Luis Obispo Police Department (SLOPD) and Cal Poly’s University Police Department (UPD) will strictly enforce special Halloween laws related to drugs, alcohol and noise.
Sergeant Jeff Smith from SLOPD said they will be using the city’s “Safety Enhancement Plan” this weekend to help keep the partying under control.
“This plan allows officers to double the fines for noise violations, urinating in public, open containers, drunk in public and other alcohol-related problems,” Smith said.
Police have seen several Facebook groups regarding events (parties specifically) taking place over Halloween weekend and are worried students from out of the San Luis Obispo area will come to town.
“One of our fears is that through these groups we have seen that not just SLO residents are attending,” Smith said. “There are people from all over saying SLO is the place to go to party for Halloween this year.”
As a result of the tendency for parties to quickly get out of control, Smith said the amount of arrests and violations have gone up in the past few years, especially on the north end of town near campus. To prevent this, police have a zero tolerance policy.
“When we receive complaints, we will be taking action,” Smith said.
However, police won’t be the only ones on patrol this weekend. Members of the Student Neighborhood Assistance Program (SNAP), an organization of trained Cal Poly and Cuesta students who warn partiers when there is a noise complaint, will also be out, Smith said. While the students can’t give citations, they can alert nearby police if they see reckless or hostile behavior.
However, there is no guarantee that all parties will be given a warning before a fine.
“It is at our discretion on whether or not we fine,” Smiths said. “We assess the situation and then decide.”
SLOPD plans to have maximum deployment Friday through Sunday of Halloween weekend, meaning they will have the maximum allowed officers on duty. The officers will mainly be distributed near campus and downtown.
Although law enforcement will be very strict over the weekend, Smith said there are ways students can have fun and stay out of trouble.
“Make sure you go to bars where it’s legal or stay inside a party,” he said. “No open containers and avoid bad situations.”
Several students have expressed frustration over heightened fines and regulation this Halloween. Economics senior Brian Costello said he is upset police can change the amount of fines based on a specific date.
“You have laws that state what the normal fines are, but for specific dates you can change the fines,” Costello said. “That doesn’t seem right.”
Nick Jacoy, a graphic communication senior at Cal Poly, lives on Hathway Street and said the only problem he has with the partying on Hathway is the occasional vandalism. He said the increased fines won’t stop people from partying.
“(The increased fines) are ridiculous,” Jacoy said. “People are still going to throw parties and drink; at most it will cause people to go out of town.”
Jacoy said overall, the doubling of fines this weekend won’t stop him from having a good time.
“I have been around SLO for a while and I pretty much know how to keep things under control so we stay out of trouble,” he said.
A recent press release from SLOPD warns students of some of the main increased fines this weekend.
- First offense noise violation — $700
- Urinating in public — $700
- Open container — $700
- Unruly gathering — $1,000
- Serving alcohol to minors — $700