Despite a forecast with a low probability of rainfall, this year’s Deltopia weekend saw a 25 percent increase in attendance from 2017.
Deltopia, an unsanctioned street party held primarily on Del Playa Drive in Isla Vista, drew approximately 10,000 people this year, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office (SBSO). This is an uptick from last year’s estimated attendance of between 6,000 and 8,000 people.
There were 56 citations, 25 arrests and 25 medical transports this year by both SBSO and the UC Police Department (UCPD), according to preliminary numbers from the Sheriff’s office. Both citation and arrest numbers dropped from last year’s 68 citations and 42 arrests, but the number of medical transports jumped from 14 in 2017.
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All 25 medical transports were drug and alcohol related. There was one incident involving an opioid-related overdose, during which SBSO administered Narcan.
According to SBSO spokesperson Kelly Hoover, there were two separate cases where a partygoer fell off a balcony due to intoxication. Neither incident resulted in major injuries.
Two of the arrests that occurred on Saturday involved handguns. In the first incident SBSO arrested Briton Barge, 23, after he allegedly used a 0.40 caliber pistol to threaten two victims while searching for his stolen backpack.
SBSO also arrested Tristian Gilford, 24, after Gilford was pulled over for having “faulty lighting equipment” on his car. Police officers then found a .25 caliber pistol hidden inside of his car and arrested him.
According to SBSO, the crowds began dwindling around 6 p.m. when the Outdoor Festival Ordinance, which bans any live or recorded music heard outside residences, went into effect. The crowds eventually dissipated when students left I.V. to attend The Warm Up concert at the Thunderdome sponsored by Associated Students Program Board.
“This year we did see more out-of-towners, and we did obviously see an increase in medical transports,” Hoover said. “But for the most part, people were pretty respectful of law enforcement and there weren’t any major problems other than the medical transports we talked about.”
According to arrest logs from April 5 to April 8, out-of-towners made up 49 percent of Deltopia arrests. Here’s a breakdown of all the arrests including age, gender and offense.
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Most of the arrests occurred on Del Playa Drive, where law enforcement arrested 10 people.
Sanya Kamidi / Daily Nexus
Jay Freeman, director for the I.V. Community Services District (CSD), said that with the exception of several parking restrictions, it was “a day like any other.”
The day after Deltopia festivities, 60 volunteers assembled at Adopt-A-Block’s annual Deltopia Cleanup Sunday morning to pick up 776 pounds of trash. According to Adopt-A-Block Supervisor Raymond Willefert, the amount of street waste he observed this year was similar to last year’s.
“Deltopia has certainly quieted down in the last few years, and fortunately we’re not seeing widespread trashing of the community and environment on the scale that was experienced prior to 2015,” Willefert said in an email.
“There was a significant amount of trash on Del Playa Drive this morning when I got to work. The 6600 block in particular was hit pretty hard, but fortunately nothing we couldn’t handle,” he explained.
According to university spokesperson Andrea Estrada, the university spent between $25,000 and $30,000 on ads to deter out-of-towners from attending Deltopia. In previous years, the university has spent up to $40,000.
The university also spent approximately $5,000 to put up fencing on El Colegio Road. The university faced backlash from students and the CSD regarding their decision to put up fencing this year, despite a formal request from the CSD to reconsider.
CSD Board President Ethan Bertrand said the CSD coordinated with local law enforcement and had a contract with the UCPD to deploy Community Service Officers (CSOs) during the day to help keep people safe.
“I’m very glad that it was a relatively safe event,” Bertrand said. “On that note, I’m really happy to see a continued reduction in arrests and citations. However, I am concerned about this year’s increase in medical calls, and it just shows us how important it is to continue to work to make this event safer.”
Bertrand added that moving forward, there should be considerations about creating a “more sustainable event,” which brings together locals, community organizations and businesses.
“Right now, we have a bunch of people who are roaming around on Del Playa with no plans,” Bertrand said. “If we can bring some more fun and safe activities to Isla Vista on this day and really incorporate local businesses into it, I think that we can have a much safer and more positive event.”
A version of this story appeared on pg. 1 of the April 12, 2018 issue of the Daily Nexus