Students spending Thanksgiving in Isla Vista could find themselves sadder than a roasted turkey this week, as local law enforcement braces for an expected increase in property crime and many area businesses close their doors for the holiday period.
Because the majority of local students will be leaving town for the weekend, many I.V. businesses – including Freebirds, Woodstock’s Pizza and I.V. Drip – will be closed until Monday morning. Despite the lack of students in the area, Isla Vista Foot Patrol Sgt. Craig Bonner said the IVFP will still be patrolling I.V. during the holiday break. Bonner said officers are anticipating an increase in property crime in I.V because burglaries in the area are very common while students are out of town and their homes are left unattended.
“We’re definitely going to be continuing normal patrols this weekend,” Bonner said. “We’re also going to be keeping an eye out for any signs of burglary.”
Bonner said students who plan to leave Isla Vista this week can take steps to protect their valuables during their absence by taking them home for the holiday. Bonner also said students should make sure any important possessions, particularly electronic equipment and jewelry, are moved away from windows and glass doors to areas that are not visible to onlookers from outside the building.
Bonner said another way students can help keep their belongings safe is by writing down the serial numbers of any electronics they leave in I.V. during the break, which will allow the IVFP to identify and return stolen property if it is eventually located.
Students staying in I.V. during the holiday week will face a different set of problems: Many local restaurants and stores will close for business starting on Wednesday or Thursday.
Kara Robarts, a manager at I.V. Drip, said the coffee and ice cream shop will close early on Wednesday and will remain closed until Monday morning because the store’s owner anticipates very little business at the establishment throughout the break.
“We figure that no one’s going to be here, so there’s no point for an employee to be here and not serve anybody,” Robarts, a third-year communication major, said.
Residence Halls will also be cutting back their services during the break, as all on-campus dormitories will be shut down for the holiday weekend.
Chris Johnson, assistant director of residential life for the Residence Halls Association, said RHA will not offer its usual amenities or programming until Sunday because most hall residents will be gone. The locks throughout the dorms will be changed for the break to prevent burglaries and unauthorized entry into the buildings, Johnson said.
“The dorms will be essentially closed over the break,” Johnson said. “We try to suggest students go home instead of stay.”
RHA is also substantially decreasing the number of on-duty staff in the dorms for the remainder of this week, because only about 50 residents will be staying in the halls during the week, Johnson said. For safety purposes, he said these students will be subject to constant surveillance by patrolling Community Service Officers and Resident Assistants.
Despite increased security and decreased staff throughout the holiday break, Johnson said UCSB’s Office of International Students and Scholars will be preparing a Thanksgiving dinner for the students who will be staying in the dorms, as the long distances to their out-of-state or international residences are the primary reason many cannot make the trip home.
The Residence Halls will resume their usual operating procedures beginning Monday, when most dormitory occupants are expected to return from the holiday break.