With the return of Athens’ infamous Halloween Block Party, Ohio University’s Halloween weekend was calmer compared to previous years, and arrests and criminal charges were down from 2021.
Though the city’s special events made a comeback for the first time since 2020, which were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Halloween weekend was much easier to handle than several years before, Athens Police Department Chief Tom Pyle said.
Pyle said he observed a large difference in the activity and number of charges since he started working during OU Halloween in 1989.
“Those historical Halloweens we would arrest 200 people a weekend,” Pyle said.
In 2021, APD made 23 arrests and the Ohio University Police Department had 20 reports filed, according to a previous Post report. In 2019, which was when the city's block party was last held before the pandemic, 18 arrests were made, according to the same report.
During this year’s Halloween weekend, a number of arrests were made by APD, OUPD and the Ohio Investigative Unit.
Athens Police Department
This year, APD made 16 arrests between Oct. 28 and Oct. 30.
On Friday, three arrests were made. The reports listed the offenses as obstructing official business, offenses involving underage persons and having physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated, respectively.
On Saturday, nine arrests were made. Two individuals were arrested for offenses involving underage persons, and two people were arrested for underage consumption or possession.
The other five arrests included aggravated burglary, domestic violence, obstructing official business, harassment of a police dog or horse and disorderly conduct by intoxication.
In the early morning hours of Sunday, four people were arrested. Two were arrested for carrying concealed weapons and using the weapons while intoxicated. The other two were arrested for disorderly conduct by intoxication.
During the block party, APD was stationed on Court Street from 11 a.m. Saturday until around 12 a.m. Sunday, which was an hour after the event ended, Pyle said.
After the event ended, APD spent the following hour clearing the street and opening it back up to traffic. No problems occurred during those times, according to APD.
After the officers left Court Street, the remaining staff stayed around the area until around 4 a.m. to patrol and respond to calls. APD had extra staff on hand due to the business of the weekend.
“There’s no comparison,” Pyle said. “This is a much easier event for us to handle this year, certainly post-pandemic, than Halloweens’ in their heyday.”
APD typically focuses on belligerent behavior and issues that arise from drinking. When someone is arrested for underage drinking, there is typically another charge with it, Pyle said.
Other than block party events and entertainment on Court Street, Pyle said Halloween weekend was similar to every other weekend, only busier.
Ohio University Police Department
OUPD reported a total of 14 offenses from the weekend.
“Recent Halloweens have been pretty calm compared to several years ago, which is a trend we hope continues,” OUPD Staff Lieutenant Tim Ryan said in an email.
On Friday, six charges were made. A report of disorderly conduct was made in Tanaka Hall, where an individual was issued a citation for disorderly conduct by intoxication.
A theft of a backpack occurred in Luchs and an offense of possession of marijuana occurred in Hoover House. An ambulance was requested at Washington Hall, which resulted in an individual being cited for disorderly conduct by intoxication.
An offense of an underage person consuming alcohol occurred in True House, and OUPD assisted APD with locating a victim of a crime in Brown Hall.
On Saturday, OUPD responded to a total of six reports, including drugs being confiscated in Stocker Center. An individual was issued a summons for a fake ID at the McDonald’s on Richland Avenue.
Two light poles were damaged on South Green in a report of property damage. In Carr Hall, confiscation of drugs occurred and an individual’s fake ID was collected for destruction. Additionally, an individual was charged for operating a vehicle under the influence on West Mulberry Street.
On Sunday, OUPD assisted APD in locating a suspect on Mill Street and a traffic crash occurred near the Golf and Tennis Center on South Green Drive.
Ohio Investigative Unit
The Ohio Investigative Unit reported 152 charges made over the weekend. Of those charged, 76 were arrested, including four juveniles.
“It was certainly a busy weekend,” OIU Commander Eric Wolf said. “A lot of the activity downtown was pretty well-behaved and things went smoothly. We had a fair amount of activity in some of the off-campus housing areas. Overall, a busy weekend but kept things pretty safe for everybody.”
The crowds in Athens during Halloween have been increasing since COVID-19, Wolf said. OIU experienced no major issues but had one situation in which there was resistance to arrest.
Throughout the weekend, 100 people were charged for “underage persons” alcohol offenses. Two individuals were charged for selling to underage consumers. Four people were charged with open container offenses.
Additionally, 38 individuals were charged with “acts prohibited with fictitious identification” and two were charged for using someone else’s fake ID.
One individual was arrested for possessing a controlled substance and two were arrested for possessing cocaine. Another individual was charged with obstructing official business and two were charged for failing to disclose personal identification to an officer.
Athens County EMS (ACEMS)
ACEMS responded to 24 emergency calls relating to holiday activities during Halloween weekend. All the incidents occurred between 7 p.m. on Friday and 7 a.m on Saturday.
Four of the calls ACEMS received were for intoxication, one was for anxiety-related issues, one was due to an assault and another was made for a fall with an injury. Five of the seven calls received Friday resulted in individuals being transported to OhioHealth O'Bleness Hospital.
ACEMS received 17 calls on Saturday, all of which were for intoxication-related issues, with nine individuals being transported to OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital.
ACEMS said they had more staff on hand for the weekend and all calls were handled in a timely manner.