Although UCSB’s surrounding roads may only include a few miles of freeway and less than a square mile of unincorporated land, campus police were still able to arrest 80 individuals for driving under the influence last year.
Of these 80 arrests conducted by the University of California Police Dept. on or within one mile of UCSB property, 58 resulted from driving under the influence of alcohol while 22 were drug related. The number marks a 56.86 percent increase from 2006 when only 51 arrests were carried out. Additionally, while many students were away for the holidays, UCPD officers joined other law enforcement agencies in the area to target DUIs, resulting in 211 arrests countywide.
UCPD spokesman Matt Bowman said the surge in arrests this year does not necessarily indicate an escalating trend in DUIs, but perhaps an increase in police enforcement.
“My guess is that there were as many DUI drivers then as now, but the targeted enforcement allowed by grants resulted in our identifying and subsequently arresting more of them,” Bowman said. “Increased local and statewide awareness coupled with grant money have resulted in better proficiency of officers combating this crime.”
Funding came from sources such as the DUI Corridor Grant, a $100,000 state allocation issued to campus police in conjunction with the Santa Barbara Highway Patrol. Bowman said the grant allowed UCPD to install video cameras in squad cars and obtain handheld devices that determine blood alcohol content, thus expediting the arrest process.
Additionally, UCPD attributed some of its arrests to its participation in the “Avoid the 12” campaign, which combines resources from law enforcement agencies throughout Santa Barbara County and uses grant money to target DUIs.
Beginning on Dec. 14, UCPD cooperated in Avoid the 12’s 19-day DUI holiday crackdown across the county. The operation included four cooperative sobriety checkpoints, a multi-officer New Year’s Eve strike force and heavy highway patrolling that resulted in 211 arrests.
According to Avoid the 12 Director and Deputy Win Smith, while the countywide sampling of DUI statistics indicates an increase in arrests – the numbers are up 28 percent from last year’s campaign total of 165 – the results also reveal a sharp decline in DUI-related crashes.
“Eleven DUI injury crashes are on the books, half the total of 22 last year,” Smith said.
Avoid the 12 Public Information Officer Jan Ford said these statistics indicate the success of more rigorous law enforcement.
“This was Avoid the 12’s second year kicking into high gear with arrests and very good officers worked all through the holidays in order to make as many arrests as possible to reduce the crash total,” Ford said. “They were very successful in doing that.”