In the early stages of calculation, it appears that more than 300 people were arrested in Isla Vista during this year’s three-day Halloween celebration, resulting in three times as many bookings as last year – but fewer serious violent crimes.
Lt. Sol Linver of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol said 101 people were booked Friday, while only 79 received citations that night. Linver said at least 170 were arrested the following day among the peak crowds of about 22,000 people, mostly for crimes including public intoxication and providing false identification. As of 3 a.m. Monday morning, Linver said he had not received reports of any serious fights or batteries this weekend, despite the 80 arrests and 100 citations recorded on Halloween Sunday.
By contrast, the IVFP made just 98 arrests during the entire Halloween weekend last year. Linver said no estimates as to the number of UCSB students arrested would be available until later this week.
Linver said one of the most significant incidents of the weekend involved officers who attempted to stop a vehicle driving from the 6600 to the 6700 block of DP. Instead of stopping, Linver said, the driver of the car attempted to swerve and hit one of the deputies. He said the suspects abandoned the car on Camino del Sur and fled on foot before they were apprehended and charged with assault with a deadly weapon. He said none of the deputies or victims sustained any injuries in the incident.
Linver said he was happy to find that no Halloween revelers had fallen off of the cliffs lining Del Playa Drive, as has happened in several previous years.
“I’m very, very pleased that we haven’t had any major injuries like the ones we had last year,” Linver said.
Linver said the main reasons for the unusually high number of arrests and low number of violent crimes and sexual assaults this weekend included the extra day of celebration on Sunday, and the IVFP’s strategy of arresting possible troublemakers before they created serious problems.
“One of the goals with the arrests is to stop incidents before they occur,” Linver said.
The CHP, which had officers operating a sobriety checkpoint and patrolling I.V. looking for drunk drivers, arrested a total of nine people for driving under the influence on Friday and Saturday.
The restrictions forbidding parking on DP during this year’s Halloween weekend have helped tremendously in keeping the celebrations safe and manageable for police and residents, Linver said.
“I think it was one of the best things we’ve ever done,” Linver said.
As a result of the parking ban, 20 cars were towed Friday, 15 were towed Saturday and four were towed Sunday, Linver said.
Linver said the nine floodlight towers on DP – while not a new addition to the Halloween safety measures – were crucial in giving law enforcement and emergency personnel a good view of the crowd.
“The lights have been very helpful,” Linver said. “I think they made it safer for the public, and safer for us.”
At about 8 p.m. Sunday, the light tower at the corner of DP and El Embarcadero went out due to a blown fuse. The lights remained out until a technician arrived to repair the accidental malfunction.
Initial estimates placed the number of sworn officers on patrol in I.V. during the evenings at more than 150. Linver said he had 195 personnel on duty Friday night, 197 on duty Saturday night and 178 working Sunday night, including un-sworn personnel.
Linver said the IVFP has worked closely with numerous local and state agencies to make its Halloween patrol as comprehensive and synchronized as possible.
“The cooperation has been excellent,” Linver said. “For example, the Santa Barbara County Fire Dept. provided the lighting for the field booking station.”
Despite the interagency cooperation involved in the I.V. Halloween public safety efforts this year, Linver said it has also required an abundant amount of supervision and coordination.
“It’s probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done,” Linver said.
Despite the IVFP’s recent heavy enforcement of alcohol and keg laws, Linver said police have had to break up relatively few out-of-control parties this Halloween.
“Everyone has come to have a good time,” Linver said. “Those who have been holding keg parties have been doing it responsibly.”
One new addition to local law enforcement’s Halloween arsenal was a field booking station, located next door to the IVFP station on Pardall Road.
Lt. Mark Kulikov, field booking team commander, said IVFP transportation vans would bring arrestees to the field booking station, where they would be medically screened and searched to reduce the amount of time necessary for deputies and jail personnel to spend completing the paperwork for each booking.
“The primary purpose of the booking station is to complete paperwork that would otherwise be done at the jail,” Kulikov said. “It helps reduce strain on them and gets deputies back on the street.”
Kulikov said the booking station was filled nearly to overflowing levels each night, and he said personnel were forced to make use of nearly all available space to accommodate all the new arrestees.
“This is the largest number we’ve seen booked in about 12 years,” Kulikov said.
The sheer number of bookings made the booking station a critical part of the law enforcement efforts in I.V. this year, Linver said. Without it, he said, jail personnel would likely be forced to spend several extra days completing the necessary paperwork.
“Even with [the booking station] here, when I left at 5 a.m. there were still people here waiting to be booked,” Linver said. “Without it, the jail would still be taking bookings through next week.”
About 15 volunteer members of Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue (SBCSAR) roamed through the crowds on DP and operated a first aid station all three nights of the weekend, responding to medical calls that were unreachable by ambulance or fire truck. Linver said the SBCSAR teams made it possible to reach injured or sick people stuck in the crowds quickly, and transport them out to a waiting ambulance.
“Search and rescue was a major benefit,” Linver said
Nelson Trichler, one of the incident commanders for SBCAR, said his rescue teams have a specialized stretcher attached to a single large tire called a Stokes’ litter that allows them to transport injured or unconscious people rapidly across uneven terrain or through crowds.
“Our main specialty is to access people who are injured” Trichler said.
Trichler said SBCAR assisted in carrying about six different people out of dangerous situations this weekend, mostly due to alcohol-related problems or injuries. He said he is pleased that the weekend passed without anyone falling off of the cliff, and he said SBCAR did not have to treat any victims of assault or battery.
“I think people are behaving themselves,” Trichler said. “Fortunately, we’ve had very few trauma injuries this year.”
SBCAR, which recently assisted in rescuing several campers in the Sierra Nevada mountains, ordinarily operates for extended periods of time in the wilderness without readily available support, Trichler said. He said Halloween in I.V. presents a unique set of challenges for SBCAR teams, especially with the large crowds.
“It’s a lot different than working in the backcountry,” Trichler said. “We’re not used to dealing with this many people.”
Trichler said SBCAR teams rarely have difficulty getting through the crowds, but he joked that their bright orange uniforms are occasionally mistaken for elaborate Halloween costumes.
“If they know we’re coming, and we’re there to help people, we usually have no problems,” Trichler said. “Most people think we’re Ghostbusters. They like our costumes.”