The Isla Vista Foot Patrol came out in force this weekend, doubling the number of deputies on the streets and making more than two dozen arrests.
During the busy weekend, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. assigned additional officers from nearby departments to Isla Vista in order to maintain safety. According to Lt. Brian Olmstead, officers issued a combined total of 64 citations and made 26 physical arrests on Friday and Saturday nights – more, he said, than the department makes on a typical weekend.
Along with the beefed-up police presence, I.V. also saw more medical crews out on the streets. Authorities responded to an exceptionally high number of medical emergencies, most resulting from alcohol poisoning.
Olmstead attributed the crime increase to the influx of new and returning students to the area. He added that such patterns, however, are typical of the beginning of each year.
“We are definitely seeing more offences since the start of the City College last month and the start of the university last week,” Olmstead said. “The high arrest levels are a pretty consistent thing for the first weekend with both schools back.”
According to Olmstead, the vast majority of citations and arrests this weekend resulted from alcohol-related offenses such as open container, drunk in public and minor in possession violations. Additionally, he said, there were a handful of people arrested for drug possession, fighting in public and vandalism to vehicles.
In response to the high number of medical emergencies, Olmstead said extra ambulances had to be brought to Isla Vista.
“On Friday in particular there were several ambulances in I.V. transporting residents to hospitals for emergency medical treatment,” Olmstead said.
While Isla Vista does have one emergency medical response vehicle, Olmstead said it is rare that additional ambulances need to be called in from other districts.
Olmstead noted that residents can help maintain a safe community by resisting the start-of-the quarter ritual near and dear to the hearts of those with Del Playa Drive balconies – water-ballooning those they suspect to be freshmen.
“There were a lot of people launching water balloons this weekend, but people need to know that it is a crime,” Olmstead said. “So many fights that we respond to are just started with a water balloon. A lot of times people who are hit get mad and attack the people that hit them, or vandalize their property.”
Olmstead said the IVFP will be hosting a series of outreach programs to help ensure that residents are partying responsibly.