Campus Beat Reporter
In Isla Vista, beachfront property comes with its set of drawbacks. Thursday night’s second noise ordinance meeting, in a series of discussions hosted by the office of the External Vice President for Local Affairs, concluded that the top offenders—out-of-towners, crime and noisy neighbors—are consequences of a party culture that, though much improved over recent years, still has quite a ways to go.
While the last ordinance meeting pinpointed the three causes behind noise in I.V., Thursday’s meeting brainstormed solutions for each that could serve as complements (or alternatives) to the 10 p.m. noise ordinance proposed by Santa Barbara County Police Department in August.
For out-of-towners, EVPLA Deputy Chief of Staff Kristen Armellini proposed a social media campaign that encouraged I.V. residents to “keep it local.” The campaign would include customized Snapchat filters and geotags that mark Isla Vista as “closed” at midnight if searched on Google.
EVPLA Ashcon Minoiefar put special emphasis on the new UCIV program as a deterrence for both noise and crime. The program, inspired by a similar setup last Halloween, hires students to act as liaisons between law enforcement and community members. Community members will also be able to call UCIV in place of law enforcement for noise complaints.
Third year political science major Samuel Seibel suggested a noise ordinance zoning system to address the issue of noisy neighbors and ideally contain crime.
“The hope is that we can allocate certain quiet zones and loud zones,” said Seibel. “The loud zones will draw parties and hopefully alleviate noise for zones that are home to families and non-student residents.”
Armellini also stressed the importance of opening party alternatives to all I.V. residents, suggesting that certain funds be allocated to allow for CC students to participate at UC funded events.
After solutions were shared, many took the remaining time to again express their issues with the proposed noise ordinance.
I.V. Community Services District Director candidate Andrew Gabriel Pragin cited the Isla Vista Safe Committee Report released last spring that marks a 20 percent decrease in overall crime, which many used as an argument against the ordinance.
“Relations between police and students have improved the last two years,” said fourth year chemistry major Sirapat Cupradinan. “The 20 percent decrease in crime shows that we’re going in the right direction. I don’t think students will respond well to an ordinance that feels like a punishment.”
Though I.V. Foot Patrol Lt. Ruben Cintron admits that there is no guarantee whether the 10 p.m. ordinance will deter crime, IV residents worried about noisy neighbors still have incentive to support the proposal.
For noise complaints called in before midnight, police are not allowed to respond unless residents agree to sign and file a formal complaint.
“If they won’t sign the complaint, we can’t respond,” said Cintron. “We get calls all the time at 10:30, 11 at night, and if they’re not willing to sign the complaint, there’s nothing we can do for them.”
The filed complaint requires both parties to later appear in court, a step that deters many residents that may not have legal status or simply don’t want to deal with the hassle. The 10 p.m. ordinance, according to Cintron, will lower the threshold for this step and ideally help disgruntled residents get more sleep.
However, Cintron also reminds residents that though officers continue to do the best they can to respond to calls in a timely fashion, the 10 p.m. ordinance will not guarantee more officers on the ground.
“In terms of resources, we always need more,” said Cintron. “We don’t have enough people to do the job down here.”
The proposed ordinance, whose passage requires approval by county supervisors, will remain tabled until further discussion between law enforcement and community members. The next town hall meeting after elections are held in November.