Hector Sanchez Castaneda
Approximately 10,000 people attended the unsanctioned event known as Deltopia on April 4 in Isla Vista. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office’s preliminary numbers recorded 140 citations, 102 arrests, and 9 medical transports. In comparison to last year’s preliminary count of 190 citations, 130 arrests, 50 medical transports—and one riot—officials are calling the event a success.
“We were very pleased with how Deltopia went this year,” said SBCSO Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover. “We are grateful to the students for making a conscientious effort not to invite out-of-towners to come. We believe that by not inviting people they didn’t know into their homes, they made a huge difference.”
The crowd reached its peak in the afternoon, as large groups made their way down Del Playa Drive. Officers from around the county and the University of California Police Department were posted around IV during the whole event. IV residents could be seen on their balconies, some interacting with the crowds on the street.
The Adopt-A-Block program set up a stand on DP and handed out approximately 1,000 free ashtrays to passing crowds with the intent to reduce cigarette butts in the streets.
“From what I witnessed, it looked… like there were way less people in town than what there was last year,” Adopt-A-Block supervisor Adam Porté said. “Is seemed like a way more mellow year, I handed out 1,000 little pocket ashtrays on DP, so that went really well. Save the Mermaids helped us pass them out and it was a fun, good time.”
The Isla Vista Foot Patrol station on Trigo Road became the command station for the event. Here, arrested individuals were brought and interviewed, while intoxicated people were held until sobered up. Next to the station, a medical tent led by Director of the Emergency Medical Services Agency John Eaglesham, was set up. In order to prevent overpopulation of the Goleta hospital, the tent was suited to deal with multiple emergency cases.
“We set up a triage tent and we have our own ambulances dedicated to this event and our paramedics and firefighters so that in the event of [an emergency] we just bring them from the scene and we hold them here and we say to the hospital, ‘How are you, are you busy?’ and if they say they’re swamped we hold them here until they’re ready,” Eaglesham said.
In regards to the increased police presence, some students seemed to show support. First-year chemistry major Nick Hatsios said he felt safer with the large number of officers patrolling the streets.
“A street full of young adults drinking, partying, or looking to have a good time can seem harmless, making a large police force seem invasive, but my personal belief is that they are there to protect us,” Hatsios said. “I would rather be intimidated by someone seeking everyone’s safety than someone being hurt, raped, or worse.”
An estimated 200 officers were brought to the event from the County Sheriff’s Office, and an additional 100 from the UCPD. The Mounted Enforcement Unit was also patrolling the streets, as horses with mounted officers were seen going down DP.
There was some anti-law enforcement sentiment among participants, however.
“I felt it was a power-move,” first-year English and psychology double major Nailah Rauf said. “I felt really uncomfortable being around that many police officers and it felt oppressive.”
Large crowds dispersed as night fell, and by 9 PM only about 500 people were out, according to the SBCSO.
“It was a quiet night, we’ve been fortunate,” Eaglesham said. “The crowd has been mannerly and compliant. We’re really happy with the way things worked out tonight.”