A staggering 45,000 people descended upon Isla Vista this weekend for the annual Halloween celebrations.
The Friday night holiday drew larger crowds to Del Playa’s famed party than seen in many years. This weekend’s number of revelers dwarfed the crowds attending the previous few Halloweens: last year, police believe 20,000 people showed up.
Lt. Brian Olmstead of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol office said preliminary reports indicate that 236 physical arrests were made over the weekend. This statistic is up from last year, when 154 individuals were booked into Santa Barbara County Jail.
Additionally, 560 citations were issued – compared to 377 last year – 55 people were transported for emergency medical care and 50 cars were towed.
Two individuals also tumbled over the bluffs, but both survived the fall. One was seriously injured and taken to Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital for treatment.
“It was a pretty successful [weekend] in general,” Olmstead said. “We don’t have the exact breakdowns yet, but most of the citations were for minor in possession, open container and urinating in public.”
He said that although numerous fights broke out on the crowded streets, there were no unexpected crises.
“Besides some cases of alcohol poisoning that required medical response, there were not too many serious incidents,” he said.
Olmstead said that Halloween revelers were generally cooperative with law enforcement, and were respectful toward the 240-plus officers on patrol in Isla Vista.
Although Olmstead said that there were few incidents of resistance to police, some partiers felt that the increased number of officers – up from the 150 on patrol last year- felt oppressive.
“I was being cooperative and respectful,” fourth-year Harrison Sallow said, describing a run-in with the police Saturday night. “But I’m a pretty big guy, and I think the cop was just doing it to intimidate everyone else at the party, and, you know, send a message.”
If the increased police presence did little to dampen the spirit of the holiday, then neither did the rain showers that occurred in the early morning hours on both Friday and Saturday.
“Each night the rain hit real late,” Olmstead said. “It got everyone inside off the streets, but it didn’t affect the numbers [of arrests and citations] really.”