Q. Halloween is right around the corner. Are there any special events going on around Santa Monica? If we decide to trick-or-treat, is there anything we should watch out for?

A. The Santa Monica Police Activities League (PAL) is hosting their annual, “Paloween Carnival” at Barker Hanger (located at Santa Monica Airport). The event features a costume contest, picture booths, games, and many other amusing activities. I strongly recommend taking your children to this event. It’s a great alternative to trick-or-treating and is fun and safe for the whole family. Local places of worship and other community organizations also organize secure Halloween events. If you decide to trick-or-treat door to door, safety is the key to a good time.

Here are some tips for a safe Halloween:

• Children should always be accompanied by a responsible adult

• Be visible and carry a flashlight

• Don’t wear masks or costumes that obscure vision or restrict mobility

• Make sure props (like swords, knives, or pitchforks) have blunted tips in case someone falls or won’t interfere with costumes

• Be very careful crossing the street, use intersections and crosswalks. Watch for cars. Never cross mid-block

• Know your neighborhood, plan where you are going to go

• Never enter anyone’s home

• Don’t approach homes that are dark and not clearly participating in Halloween festivities

• Carry a cell phone and call the Police immediately if you observe illegal activity

• Carefully inspect candy before you eat it. Discard any open or unpackaged treats

• Enforce curfew rules with your teens. Curfew is 10 p.m. in Santa Monica

Have a fun and safe Halloween. Whether you attend an organized function or go door to door make sure safety is your primary concern. For more Halloween safety check SMPD’s website at www.santamonicapd.org.

Q. A friend of mine had her car broken into. What can I do to prevent this?

A. Coming back to your car and finding your door open, or your window broken out and all your stuff missing can really be maddening. Preventing this from happening is easy. Auto burglaries can occur anywhere at any time. Most vehicles that are broken into are left unlocked. Here are five common sense rules to preventing auto burglary:

Rule 1: Always lock your vehicle. Even if you are only going to be away for a moment.

Rule 2: Take everything you are not willing to lose out of your vehicle; it should look like it did in the showroom. All electronics — cell phones, GPS units, computers, should never be left in the car. Even the power cables to electronic equipment left visible are clues to a would-be thief there is something of value within the car. Containers, Duffel or gym bags, even visible change in the cup-holder can prompt a break in. There have been several instances recently where people have left spare keys or keys to other cars they own in their vehicle; thieves have found the keys and taken the whole car. Remove all paperwork that has identifying information about you or where you live (bills, mail, etc.).

Rule 3: Don’t rely on the trunk to safeguard your valuables. Most vehicles have trunk releases within the passenger compartment that can be activated even without the ignition being on. Don’t park then put your valuables in the trunk. A thief may be watching. Hide items before you reach your destination.

Rule 4: Be selective about where you park. Park in well-lit, highly visible areas. Set your alarm or security device. It only takes a moment to break into a car. Thieves pick areas where it is unlikely they will be seen by citizens and caught by the police.

Rule 5: Be observant. When you park carefully check your surroundings. Be aware of people who are watching you or are acting suspiciously. Report all suspicious activity immediately to the police.

Q. What are the parking rules for a green painted curb?

A. Green zones are usually around public facilities, like hospitals and schools and should be marked, “15-Minute Limit.” They are intended for loading and unloading only. Occasionally these spaces can be metered with the same 15-minute limit. (3.12.730 SMMC)

Q. What are the parking rules for a white zone?

A. White zones are typically found around large hotels and must include the words, “Passenger Loading Only.” Vehicles are not allowed to park for any length of time and may only stop long enough to pick up or drop off passengers. (Same as the Airport) (3.12.760 SMMC)

This column was prepared by NRO Adam Gwartz (Beat 5: Montana Avenue to north city limits, Ocean Avenue to 26th Street). He can be reached at (424) 200-0685 or adam.gwartz@smgov.net.

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