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Increased security tonight to ensure treats, not tricks

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Downtown Greenville goes were forced to get checked at a police checkpoint before entering the secured area on Halloween night. Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012.

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The Daily Reflector

Monday, October 31, 2016

Greenville police tonight will continue its increased staffing and security to ensure goblins and ghouls heading downtown for Halloween festivities are in for a treat, not a trick.

The agency brought in additional staff beginning Thursday to assist with safety efforts during the early evening trick-or-treat hours and with late-night revelry across the city. Greenville Police Department hired “Staff One” to work security in the downtown area, where thousands historically have flocked to celebrate. A large number of East Carolina University students also are expected on campus for Halloween Havoc.

The downtown event area has been expanded this year to include businesses on Evans and Fourth streets and also includes the area behind the parking deck, where a park with hammocks is located. Greenville Police Chief Holtzman said the expansion will give people more room to spread out, have something to do and enjoy themselves.

Security officers will be at each entrance point to pat down event-goers. No weapons, real or fake, will be permitted.

The five checking stations are located at Fifth and Reade, Fifth and Evans, Cotanche Street near Chicos, Cotanche Street near the parking deck and Fourth and Evans.

The Five Points lot is open for public parking. The parking deck in the late evening will be used mainly by employees of downtown businesses. Parking passes will be distributed to area businesses to consolidate the employee parking and allow lot and street parking for visitors.

Barricades also will be set up downtown to control traffic and increase pedestrian safety.

Local law enforcement is encouraging the public to take part in helping with their own safety by wearing bright-colored clothing or some illumination device. ECU Police Department’s Lt. Chris Sutton said pedestrians need to be aware when crossing roads and use crossing guards and crosswalks. Sutton said costume wearers should be cautious about masks that hinder their ability to see.

Areas that are expected to experience heavy traffic include Fifth, 10th and 14th streets, Charles Boulevard and Cotanche Street. Light towers similar to those used around the stadium during football games will be in areas where heavy foot traffic is expected. 

Sutton said the ECU bus transit schedule has changed for tonight to accommodate students. Sutton said the transit will do pickups at Mendenhall and the Recreation Center bus stops tonight instead of pickups off Reade Street in downtown.

He anticipates a large crowd at Halloween Havoc, an event scheduled for 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Student Recreation Center. Students can enjoy a haunted house, escape room, laser tag, costume contest and music by DJ Bobby Drake.

Students must have a ticket to attend. ECU students with a valid 1Card can obtain a ticket at the Central Ticket Office at Mendenhall until 9 p.m.

Shuttles for Halloween Havoc will begin at 10 p.m. and operate until 2 a.m. The route will serve West End/Mendenhall, and College Hill. Shuttle service will also be provided for students who park their vehicles in the ECU parking lots located near 10th and Cotanche streets and 10th and Evans streets. 

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