This is an audio podcast about safety on 6th Street in Austin, Texas and what the Austin Police Department is doing to keep 6th Street safe.
Kim Carmona: Walking through 6th street is like walking through a moving maze of colorful costumes and scary masks. Out of nowhere a man in a red ninja outfit challenges a man in a blue ninja outfit to a sword battle. They pull out their plastic toy swords and start their swordfight both trying so hard not to laugh. A small group of people makes a circle around the ninjas in hopes to capture a future Youtube video. After minutes of laughter, the blue ninja claims victory as he stabs the red ninja in the heart.
Leonel Villareal: You go to 6th Street to interact with people. They might not be that different. But, I mean it’s worth it. It’s worth the trip.
Kim Carmona: University of Texas student, Leonel Villareal is one of several thousands of people who visit the famous 6th Street for adult Halloween fun. Even though Halloween is not on a weekend this year, many people are using the weekend before to celebrate. Even though celebrating on 6th Street can be fun, there are many dangers that lurk around. According to Officer Chris Williams, the Austin Police Department does more than hire people to patrol 6th Street.
Officer Chris Williams: We block off the streets and we make sure that there are no cars out here to make more room for the people coming in and traffic. And we make sure that we have enough room so we can come through. We block off a certain area so that we can safely get to one place to another to make sure you all are all safe.
Kim Carmona: The Saturday of Halloween weekend tends to attract more visitors than Friday and Sunday combined. Because of the large amount of people on 6th Street on Saturday night, there is an increase on the amount of tickets given out by police officers. According to Officer Michael Barger, who has patrolled 6th Street during Halloween weekend for eight years, jaywalking is one of the tickets given out the most. Other tickets given out are usually related to alcoholic beverages.
Officer Michael Barger: Uh, usually what we will have problems with is public intoxication, we will have some urinating in public places tickets, open glass containers and consumption where prohibited.
Kim Carmona: The Austin Police Department does a lot to make sure no one gets hurt during Halloween weekend. Even though the police officers seem intimidating, the officers are there to keep everyone safe. Officer Barger mentions how important it is for people to take precautionary steps to make sure that they have a great experience on 6th Street during Halloween weekend.
Officer Barger: Try to behave, you know. Don’t bring any glass containers down here; don’t drink on the streets. Go inside the club to drink. [And] just be careful.
Kim Carmona: This is Kimberley Carmona reporting.