Ah, lovely spring. This is the time of year you just have to appreciate the warm weather, sunny days, birds chirping, hay fever, wind, birds dumping on my car and the lovely smell of burnt couch. Ah, home sweet couchless home. For some, this is the unfortunate time of year that a little drunken revelry ends up costing people a little more than just a few dollars. Let me explain.

If you get caught lighting a couch on fire, how much is the ticket?

There are actually a couple of different charges that you could be arrested for. If you start the fire, you will be charged with arson (Penal Code section 451). That’s a felony that could leave you in jail for up to three years. Now if you’re just tossing something onto an already burning couch, that’s called “fueling a fire,” (Welfare and Institutions Code section 41800) and you could be fined up to $1,000 and get six months in jail.

Think that’s expensive? Just wait. In addition to the arson or fueling charge, you could also be charged with vandalism to the street. When couches and mattresses burn, they heat up enough to melt the asphalt. This damage to the street must eventually be repaired, as it becomes bumps and potholes. Figure it’s going to cost you at least another $1,000 for that repair.

So if you’re caught lighting the fires, does that mean you’ll automatically end up for three years rooming with a guy named “Mongo” who considers bunkmates as the missing food group? No, probably not. But you will end up with some hefty fines and could spend some fine quality time with the men and women at the county jail. Another question to remember is, do you really want an “arsonist” label following you for the rest of your life? Even Mongo is asking for a new roommate…

I lost my wallet in South Hall. I asked the teaching assistant and he didn’t see it. Is there a lost and found I should check?

According to university policy, all property found on campus must be turned over to the UCSB Police Dept. The Police Dept. is then responsible for maintaining the property and attempting to get it back to its rightful owner. Due to there not being enough room, we are unable to store goats and small children for more than two days.

Seriously though, if you have checked the location where you first lost your wallet, your next step is to contact the UCSB Police Dept.’s Lost and Found Office. Jayne Heil is the administrator and she can be reached at 893-3843. The Lost and Found Office’s hours are Monday 1 to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and Friday 1 to 4:30 p.m. You can leave a message at any time, and Jayne will gladly get back to you. You can also get more information at our website, www.police.ucsb.edu – just click the Lost and Found link.

Oh, and about the goats and small children – I was just kidding. We can usually hold them for at least three days.

So as I sit here enjoying the wonderful pollen count of spring, I look forward to hearing from you all and I hope if you choose to party in Isla Vista, do it safely. The vast majority of you all who are out just to have a good time deserve to enjoy yourselves without the fear of guns and violence. Let’s work together to keep our community safe. Until next time, take care of each other.

Ticked off by a ticket? Party popped by the Patrol? If you got questions, don’t let it eat away at you. Ask questions. E-mail me anytime at mark.signa@police.ucsb.edu or call the Crime Prevention Office at 893-4063.