Thanksgiving and Winter Break traditionally turn Isla Vista into a virtual ghost town, making student-rented property vulnerable to theft. On Thursday, the I.V. Foot Patrol released its annual burglary report for Nov. 23 through Jan. 17, which showed an increase in residential burglaries and decline in vehicle burglaries.

IVFP Lt. Butch Arnoldi presented the new report, which compared statistics for 1998, 1999 and 2000, at the I.V. Recreation and Parks District meeting yesterday evening. According to the report, while five arrests were made this year, burglaries more than doubled from eight in 1999 to 21 in 2000. No vehicle burglaries were reported throughout the entire eight-week period, compared to seven in 1999. Additionally, property that allegedly belonged to I.V. residents was retrieved with the arrest of four other suspects for possession of stolen property, Arnoldi said.

“A total of five arrests [for burglary] were made, and a total of nine residential burglaries were cleared as a result of those arrests,” he said. “The game plan [for the suspects arrested for stolen property] was to basically rip the stuff off, put it in dumpsters, and then come back to retrieve it later. Fortunately, their plans didn’t go through.”

Arnoldi attributed the burglary arrests to the residence vacation check service offered by the IVFP for the past two years, and said it showed the ability of the community to work together to ensure the safeguarding of I.V. property.

“It is a direct result of this community spirit and cooperation between the Daily Nexus, the residents and the Isla Vista Foot Patrol that can be directly attributed to the tremendous success of the program,” he said.

IVRPD member Diane Conn asked Arnoldi about recent reported incidents of arson, and said she felt couch fires had become a problem in the community.

“I want to know what’s been going on with the couch burning – has it been going down over the past couple years?” she said.

Arnoldi said arson, which is usually problematic in I.V., was reported to have been low during this period, but that there were three sexual assaults reported in the last month.

“There were only four couch fires in the last eight weeks – that’s good news,” he said. “There were three reported sexual assaults in the last four weeks. All of them involved alcohol, something that has to be noted during the investigations. Unfortunately, because of the alcohol, sometimes people don’t really remember what happened, and so that makes it difficult.”

IVRPD member Ariana Katovich asked Arnoldi about a man who was reported to the station for hiding in the bushes in the Ellwood area.

“I know a few friends of mine like to go jogging in that area, and they have been concerned about this guy who hides in the bushes and watches the girls jog by,” she said. “I wanted to know if you were aware of this.”

The IVFP had been previously informed of the situation and had taken care of it, Arnoldi said.

Also, at the meeting Arnoldi announced that the popularity of the IVFP 30th anniversary party in December caused the station to include the festivities in the budget for next year.

“It was a great time. It was nice to see some of the problem houses on Del Playa Drive come out and celebrate with us and get to see a different side of us,” he said.

Arnoldi will be leaving the IVFP station in February and will be replaced by the current Carpinteria lieutenant, Russell Birchim.