Is Chico a students’ dream or nightmare ?

By Rob Brandt

You stare out the car window and all you see is farm after farm after farm. Maybe you see a small gas station or rest stop, but as the miles continue the farm land becomes more and more prevalent. Your friend hands you a bottle breaking your focus.
“Drink up bro, we got a long weekend ahead of us.”
In the back of your mind you know you shouldn’t drink what’s in that bottle but you know it won’t be the first drink of the weekend or the last. So you drink and then begin to mentally prepare yourself for the weekend of mischief and mayhem at California State University, Chico’s annual Halloween extravaganza Chicoween.
Urban dictionary defines Chicoween as a Halloween you have never experienced. It is a time where every type of group of people comes together and celebrates the momentous holiday. It doesn’t matter if you are in a fraternity or not even in school, all who come to Chicoween are welcome.
If you are looking for a place to have a good time and forget about the unnecessary issues that bother you, welcome to the land where those issues come to die. The town metamorphosizes from the small college farm town to a city where the fun never stops and the laws are almost non-existent. It gets so wild that people often party in the streets, on rooftops, and even light the occasional piece of furniture on fire.
However, due to the amount of debauchery and the clientele that comes out on these nights, police activity is increased. They set up D.U.I checkpoints, and extra patrol cars around the city in order to keep people safe and keep the madness contained. In order to decrease excessive drinking the police implemented these checkpoints back in 2003 and have been using them ever since. In 2016, a total of 112 arrests were made by police during this four day long fiesta. That’s almost triple the amount of daily arrests according to police, according to the Chico Police Department.
Chico Police have even made a video to encourage people to celebrate safely and within the law.
“The Chico police takes this week very seriously,” Officer Jordan Saldona, a member of the Chico Police Department, says in the video.
“We have a plan laid out for that entire weekend and for the following weeks after we are working with University Police department, highway patrol, and other counties police force in order to keep patrol up,” the video explains.
Many students also take precautions to prepare their homes for this celebration. Some parties can have over a hundred people in attendance. Chris Carruth, a senior at Chico State, offers some of his own advice on what to do in order to stay safe during the holidays.
“Be aware of where you’re going and what’s going on around you,” Carruth said. “While it’s necessary for so many cops to be around because things do get crazy and people do get hurt, there also out getting people caught up for the smallest stuff so be smart.”
The police also gave students tips on how to stay safe during Chicoween as well. Officer Saldona outlined some procedures for people to follow to stay safe. They put up certain bans on items such as glass, open containers of alcohol, and said to be aware of noise complaints and who you allow in your home. The abundance of colorful characters that come out is incalculable and anyone can attempt to mess up your night.
“One great piece of advice I can offer is if you are not 21, don’t drink. You will not only be cited but you will lose your license for a year, and do not drink and drive. In this day and age with Uber and Lyft I don’t know why people would risk a D.U.I.,” Saldona says.
In order to make sure that students followed these rules precisely, the police were working with the schools. Any arrests or complaints against a student were sent to judicial affairs. You can run the risk of getting kicked out of school all for throwing one party.
“There is definitely a stronger police presence during the holiday season including police officers on horseback; mostly because of increased numbers of people from out of town on top of the student population already here,” Carruth said. “Like I said it is necessary, but you can get ticketed or arrested a lot easier so be smart.”
Even with all these rules and regulations put into place, students and party-goers did not let that affect whether or not they had a good time. The biggest thing that you can do during these types of events to keep safe is to always travel with at least one other person. The parties get wild and pour into the roads and sidewalks, which can cause a number of things to go wrong.
When you are attending these events, you will definitely need to keep an eye on yourself and your friends. Carruth spoke about the most unsafe thing he has witnessed which this reporter was actually there to witness as well.
“While at a party one weekend, everyone was inside this one cramped house on a corner downtown. There was a porch out front where a group of guys got into an altercation and we heard gunshots from inside the house,” Carruth said. “When we got outside about 10 cop cars and fire trucks pulled up outside and we could see the guy bleeding on the porch who got shot.”
As stated before, Chico is a place where you go to relax and forget about the issues involved in our everyday lives. Back in the early 80’s, Chico State was labeled as the number one party school in America. Let me just say that’s not a title that is just given to any regular school, that’s a title that’s earned by a college like Chico State.