Isla Vista residents in trouble will soon have two more blue beacons of safety they can run to.
Third District County Supervisor Gail Marshall is working with the Associated Students Safety Committee to identify appropriate locations for blue light emergency phones. One will be located at the University Religious Center at Camino Pescadero and El Greco Road. The other will be near the Isla Vista Teen Center at Camino del Sur and Sueno Road. Marshall said she is pleased the work is moving ahead.
“This is a straightforward approach to public safety in Isla Vista,” Marshall said. “These blue phones are important for residents to have access to in an emergency and this is a positive way to enhance the safety of the community.”
The phones will connect directly to a dispatch center, where the call will be directed according to the type of call. Mark Chaconas, Marshall’s staff assistant, said he wants to emphasize that the blue phones are not strictly for emergencies.
“We want people to know that a building doesn’t have to be on fire,” Chaconas said. “If you don’t feel comfortable walking home, you can use the blue phone just to get a CSO escort.”
The locations for the phones were chosen according to recent crime statistics as well as comments from A.S. Legislative Council and UCSB students. A.S. Judicial Council member Maggie Stack said the statistics she reviewed show that most crime in I.V. occurs near Abrego Road. and Estero Road, which influenced the decision to place the blue phones near these areas. Chaconas said he wanted a phone near the URC due to the number of sorority houses in the area.
The performance and effectiveness of these phones will be monitored in order to assess the possibility of additional phones in the future. A.S. External Vice President for Local Affairs Deanna Kavanaugh-Jones said she would like to see another phone installed on the bike path between Francisco Torres and UCSB as well as along the path between FT and Del Playa Drive.
“Those paths aren’t patrolled that well. They’re dark, and there’s not many people in the area,” Kavanaugh-Jones said. “Soon there will be more people biking from FT to the library because it’s going to be too expensive to park on campus at night.”
Chaconas said he would also like to have a blue phone on the Ocean Road bike path between I.V. and campus.
Kavanaugh-Jones said she turned down the possibility of a blue phone on Del Playa due to the large amount of people who generally use that street. With more people in the area, the phone would be more likely to be damaged and any crime would be more likely to be seen and reported by a third party.
Chaconas said the details of the specific locations of the phones still need to be worked out, but the phones will definitely be installed by the end of the year, if not in a matter of weeks.
“This is a positive action for the community and I am glad we are able to bring this initiative forward to make Isla Vista a safer place to live,” Marshall said. “It’s not the whole picture, but it certainly is part of it.”