Despite the arrests of three individuals for couch burning and one for burglary, local law enforcement agencies said fewer crimes occurred in Isla Vista this past Memorial Day weekend than in previous years.
Both the I.V. Foot Patrol and the Santa Barbara California Highway Patrol reported lower crime rates than past holiday weekends in Santa Barbara and I.V. According to a CHP report, officers made 11 DUI arrests compared to 16 arrests reported last year.
Santa Barbara CHP Officer Don Clotworthy said he was pleased with the lower crime rate.
“Typically, in the past we have had problems over the holiday weekend because it marks the beginning of summer, but this year was a success,” Clotworthy said.
He also said he felt the lower number of DUI arrests was due in part to new media educational programs implemented in the area. The advertisements informing the public about the new efforts to decrease the number of drunk drivers on the road have made people think twice about driving drunk, Clotworthy said
In addition to the media campaign, officers had more “saturation patrols,” or checkpoints, in the area this year looking for drivers who were under the influence, Clotworthy said.
“We have let people know that we are enforcing a zero tolerance policy, so that when they choose to drink and drive they will be arrested,” Clotworthy said. “I sincerely believe that [the programs] influence people to the point to where they will make safer decisions.”
With regards to Isla Vista, IVFP Lt. Sol Linver said a local homeless woman was arrested for allegedly burglarizing a nearby home on Friday. However, Linver said the alleged burglary was minor, with only one item stolen.
Meanwhile, two UCSB students and a Carpinteria high school student were arrested on Friday at 11:57 p.m. by IVFP officers for allegedly burning a couch of significant size on the 6700 block of Sabado Tarde Road.
Linver said that while the couch burning was unfortunate, the fact that it was the most serious incident over the holiday weekend was a relief for law enforcement.
Although Linver said he was satisfied with the low level of crime that this year’s holiday weekend brought, he said he was still disappointed by the 11 DUI arrests and hopes the number will continue to drop in successive years.
“Eleven is still a fairly high number,” he said. “One drunk driver on the road is too many.”
Clothworthy also said he was glad no one was severely injured over the weekend.
“There were no serious incidents, such as fatal DUI crashes, which is what we are trying to accomplish,” Clotworthy said.