Although today is officially Halloween, holiday celebrations on Friday and Saturday night resulted in hundreds of arrests and citations, and left many revelers in need of medical treatment after they partied a little too hard.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. spokesman Sgt. Erik Raney said 97 people were arrested and 127 people received citations in Isla Vista on Friday. The following night, during which the town experienced crowds of approximately 25,000 at peak times, local law enforcement made 140 arrests and handed out 150 citations, Raney said. Although one man fell from the bluffs at Sea Lookout Park and numerous people suffered alcohol-related injuries and illnesses over the weekend, I.V. Foot Patrol (IVFP) Lt. Sol Linver said he has not received reports of any instances of serious battery or assault.
Linver said this year’s Halloween weekend was more hectic for law enforcement than last year’s, but he said he was pleased that there were no fatalities and relatively little violent crime.
“We were busier than last year,” Linver said. “There were definitely more people in town, especially [Saturday] night.”
One of the weekend’s worst incidents occurred when a man, whose name has not been released, stepped over the fence at Sea Lookout Park on Del Playa Drive and fell onto the beach below. Linver said the victim apparently survived the fall and was taken to the hospital, but no further information about the man’s condition was available on Sunday.
“He was able to move his hands,” Linver said. “My understanding is he was conscious after the fall.”
Linver said local hospitals – especially Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital – were inundated with Halloween partygoers Friday and Saturday night, treating mostly cases of alcohol poisoning, other alcohol-related maladies, and minor injuries resulting from scuffles between revelers.
“There were some batteries, no stabbings, no serious injuries, no serious assaults, or assaults with a deadly weapon.”
Officers paid special attention to people committing sexual crimes, Linver said. He said both uniformed and plainclothes officers were watching out for people harassing others and, in particular, men groping women on the street.
“There were quite a few arrests for sexual batteries,” Linver said. “The girls shouldn’t have to tolerate that. That’s unacceptable and [officers] are doing a good job of responding to that.”
Vandalism was a source of consternation for law enforcement officials over the weekend, Linver said, as mischief-makers broke two of the floodlights on DP and overturned temporary bathroom facilities put in I.V. for the large crowds to use.
“There’s a lot of vandalism in town,” Linver said. “We’ve got inconsiderate people who destroyed light towers and portable restrooms.”
Officers patrolling I.V. were told to be strict when dealing with potential lawbreakers by Sheriff Jim Anderson at a pre-Halloween briefing Friday evening in Embarcadero Hall. At the briefing, which was attended by most of the law enforcement and emergency response personnel stationed in I.V. during the weekend, Anderson reminded officers to respect the Sheriff Dept.’s no-tolerance policy for crime and lawbreaking.
“This year we decided to run [enforcement] on all four nights [of Halloween], so it’s going to be a long weekend,” Anderson said. “The goal is to have a safe event for the whole community, but we also have a no tolerance policy.”
Linver said he feels that this weekend was not as easy as the 2004 Halloween weekend for law enforcement officials, but things went fairly well given the large number of people who spent Friday and Saturday night in I.V.
“Last year was a little bit smoother and last year people were a little bit better behaved,” Linver said. “But then again, last year we didn’t have crowds like we had [Saturday] night. I’m hoping that [Sunday and Monday] will just be locals and people will just be able to go out and enjoy themselves.”