Authorities stationed in Isla Vista this past weekend saw a moderate change in activity during the Halloween festivities this year, as the number of arrests decreased by about 27 percent, while citations increased by 11 percent.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. spokesman Sgt. Erik Raney said 213 arrests and 326 citations were made this Friday and Saturday, with 36 people transported by ambulance during the weekend. The crimes committed included one assault with a deadly weapon, drug sales and an alleged sexual assault on Friday night. No fatalities were reported.
Last year, police arrested 291 people and made 290 citations during the weekend preceding Halloween.
“It was pretty normal [for Halloween],” Raney said. “Luckily, we didn’t have any serious cases. There’s no way to compare from one year to the next, but when Halloween falls on a Wednesday, it’s typically a little calmer.”
Raney said maximum enforcement was employed over the weekend with a zero-tolerance, strict law policy.
“We look specifically for alcohol violations,” Raney said. “We look for people intoxicated in the crowds. We don’t want them to be assaulted or assault anyone themselves. And we take alcohol away from minors.”
Sgt. Raney said the “Keeping it Local” campaign for Halloween is extremely important in regard to the safety of I.V. residents and UCSB students.
“Every year, we hear from the Isla Vista population that it’s the out-of-towners creating the majority of the problems,” Raney said. “Last year, 80 percent of arrests were of people from out of town. We really want to emphasize the theme of ‘Keeping It Local.’ As the Isla Vista community looks back on this weekend, they need to look at who were really causing the problems and they need to consider not inviting their friends in the future.”
I.V. Foot Patrol Sgt. Craig Bonner said the large flood of out-of-towners coming to I.V. for the Halloween festivities adds great risk to the event every year.
“It needs to be a local event where students get together to have a good time,” Bonner said. “This weekend was extremely violent and dangerous. There was too much drinking, too much testosterone and the results are now at the hospital.”
Sgt. Bonner said increased lighting on Del Playa and getting cars off the streets are some precautions the IVFP takes in an effort to prevent crime.
“Our manpower increases tenfold,” Bonner said. “We’ll normally have about 20 people assigned, but on Halloween we have over 140 people on duty.”
UC Santa Barbara Police Officer Matt Bowman said increased law enforcement this year reduced the amount of violent crimes on campus as well.
“There were no major incidences [on campus],” Bowman said. “We just want everyone to be there to have a good time as opposed to anything else.”
In addition to the heavy enforcement in I.V., the California Highway Patrol conducted a sobriety checkpoint on Los Carneros Road between Hollister Avenue and Highway 101 on Saturday night. Of the 965 drivers screened between the hours of 9 p.m. and 3 a.m., eight were arrested for driving under the influence.
CHP spokesperson Don Clotworthy said in a press release that most cars screened had a designated driver.
“CHP officers did note that many of the vehicles which came through the checkpoint were being driven by designated drivers, parents picking their kids up from I.V. and taxicabs with intoxicated party-goers who were not driving,” he said. “Making responsible decisions and planning ahead to ensure one has a ride home after drinking should be commended and only helps to save lives.”