Officers from three local law enforcement agencies spoke to a small crowd at Embarcadero Hall last night about keeping Isla Vistans alive and well during the chaos that is Halloween weekend.
After a short speech focusing on the specific efforts of each agency, representatives from the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Dept., University of California Police Dept., and the California Highway Patrol answered questions on subjects ranging from parking violations to MIPs and the best way to avoid an unfortunate run-in with the law on Halloween.
The Isla Vista Foot Patrol’s Lt. Brian Olmstead said safety is the most pressing concern for local law enforcement agencies. Efforts, including the barricades throughout I.V. — which will begin at 8 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday next week — are intended to protect pedestrians he said. Olmstead also reminded Del Playa Drive residents to remove their cars from the street by 3 p.m. Friday afternoon.
As with any Halloween in I.V., the local community will see an enormous increase in law enforcement and medical services this year, Olmstead said. In addition to scores of officers, eight ambulances will be ready and waiting Halloween weekend.
Olmstead advised residents to follow safety precautions and take advantage of the resources available.
“Safety is the number one thing we’re trying to promote,” Olmstead said. “We have a huge property crime rate here. Lock your doors, lock your windows, and don’t walk alone — if you have to walk alone the CSOs offer an escort you can call.”
Sgt. Matt Bowman of the UCPD said the university police will be bringing in additional officers from UC Los Angeles and UC Irvine to bolster their presence over the weekend, and stressed the importance of discouraging out-of-town visitors.
“The number of deputies this year is higher than I’ve ever seen before, which could be good or bad,” Bowman said. “Good in that it will hopefully keep everyone safe, bad in that we’re making progress with the ‘Keep it Local’ campaign — but we still aren’t seeing results we would like to. It’s a cultural change that needs to start with the students here.”
Additionally, parking regulations on campus lots will be strictly enforced, Bowman said, with a $150 ticket for a first offense, and a second offense resulting in the vehicle being towed.
According to officer John Ortega, the California Highway Patrol will focus primarily on traffic violations, and will have a sobriety checkpoint in effect over Halloween weekend.
“There are way too many pedestrians out here to drink even a little and then try to drive,” Ortega said. “It’s not worth it. Remember .08 is the legal limit for people 21 and over. However, if you do crash your car at a level lower than that you can get charged for drinking and driving.”
In regards to noise violations, Festival Ordinance will replace the regular noise ordinance from Sunday, Oct. 26 to 7 a.m. Nov. 5. This ordinance prohibits amplified music at any residence or business that was not specifically designed for this purpose from the hours of 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Bowman’s advice to a student who posed a question regarding a hypothetical party at his house was to abide by the ordinances and avoid attracting the attention of law enforcement officers.
“The biggest thing is don’t draw attention to yourself,” Bowman said. “If there aren’t obvious things going on in the house — a fight, or loud music – we’ll pass by that house, especially if at the neighbor’s there is someone who is out there ripping their shirt off yelling and screaming.”
Although there will be increased number of law enforcement officials on Thursday, the parking regulations and barricades will not affect residents until Friday.