Last night, UCSB students and Isla Vista community members gathered at a public forum held in I.V. Theater to address questions and concerns regarding the upcoming surge of visitors for Halloween weekend.
Associated Students facilitated the discussion by hosting a panel featuring various law enforcement personnel, leaders of campus groups and government officials to outline the changes in enforcement and additional regulations that will be put into effect this weekend. The panel included seven members: UCSB Alcohol & Drug Program Director Jackie Kurta, UC Police Department Chief Dustin Olson, Debbie Fleming of The Office of Student Life, I.V. Foot Patrol Lieutenant Ray Vuillemainroy, Leif Dreizler of I.V. Parks and Recreation District, Assistant Director of Housing & Residential Services Danny Mann and Chris Zbinden of Transportation and Parking Services.
Many Isla Vista residents had concerns regarding parking, enforcement and their overall safety. In order to ensure safety, Vuillemainroy said there will be 150 police officers on foot along with a SWAT team patrolling the area. Vuillemainroy said police will be doubling their mobile units this year as well, and there will be three police stations set up near Del Playa Drive along with a triage unit and a water station on the corner of El Embarcadero and Embarcadero Del Norte near The Loop.
Local officials say they will take care to enforce a number of local measures this weekend, including the Festival and Social Host Ordinances. The Festival Ordinance prohibits residents from playing loud music from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., while the Social Host Ordinance, which caused controversy in the community when it was imposed in 2010, will be in full effect as well. This ordinance attempts to deter underage drinking at social gatherings — constituted by five or more people being present in a single residence — and holds the hosts of such gatherings responsible.
In order to deter vandalism and facilitate the movement of large crowds, Vuillemainroy said parking on Del Playa, Sabado Tarde Road and Trigo Road will be prohibited from 12 p.m. this Friday until 6 a.m. next Thursday.
Panel members also heavily emphasized the importance of keeping Halloween limited to a local celebration. According to Fleming, most of the crime committed during Halloween is perpetrated by non-UCSB students, which is why she and the many other members of the panel discouraged I.V. residents from inviting friends from other regions. Fleming said the university has also taken initiatives to dissuade visitors by sending letters to other UC and Cal State schools to notify their students of the risk involved in Isla Vista’s Halloween traditions.