COLONIE, N.Y. - Colonie Police say each year hundreds of kids organize gatherings in neighborhoods on Halloween egging homes and cars and causing traffic issues.
Police say for decades, they have observed this pattern in certain areas attracting large crowds, not necessarily for trick-or-treating, but rather to often commit acts of mischief. And according to police, in the past, parents have facilitated the large crowds by driving and dropping their children off in these neighborhoods.
On Wednesday, the day before Halloween, police are reminding parents and children not to contribute to the problem by knowingly transporting or participating in these large groups that invade otherwise quiet neighborhoods.
"We think Halloween should be about those little kids in costumes. It doesn't necessarily have to be that gang mentality of two to three hundred young people taking over a neighborhood," says Colonie Police Chief Steven Heider. "A lot of these kids walk there, but a lot of the kids as we witnessed last year were dropped off by their parents at 7 o clock. Parents came back at 9:30 to pick them up, it was total chaos."
These large crowds present a higher possibility of criminal activity and the very real danger of someone getting injured, police warn. The nature of the "crowd mentality" can be hazardous to nearby residents, the crowd themselves, and the police officers monitoring their activities.
Police ask parents the following: When your children are asking to be dropped off in another neighborhood on Halloween, would you like the parents from those areas to be dropping their unsupervised children off on your street? If not, then please enjoy Halloween at home with your children where you can guarantee their safety as well as the safety of others.
Chief Heider says the department monitors social media to track where these crowds might gather tomorrow, and so far they have a few leads.
The Colonie Police Department also says they will be fully staffed on Thursday to deploy officers as needed to address the problem areas if and when they develop.