The Bottom Line Staff Report
Isla Vista saw yet another toned down Halloween weekend this year, with a total of just 25 citations and arrests between Friday and Sunday in the area.
The reasons for arrest included residential burglary, domestic violence, drug possession, and public intoxication, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kelly Hoover told The Bottom Line in an email. Citations, meanwhile, included charges for minor in possession, open container, driving on a suspended license, violation of the noise ordinance, and false representation to a peace officer. Due to parking restrictions, 18 cars were towed.
The streets, which a decade ago would have seen enormous crowds of I.V. locals and out-of-towners alike, were quiet for the fourth year in a row.
Hoover called this year’s Halloween festivities “quiet” and “uneventful,” which befits a recent trend for a weekend historically associated with a wild, bacchanalian party scene. Arrests and civil incidents have trended downwards since Halloween 2011, when 228 were arrested and 230 citations issued, according to Noozhawk. In the 1990s, those numbers reportedly ranged closer to about 1,000.
University of California Police Department (UCPD) presence has increased steadily in that time, with units drawn from all ten UC campuses to patrol the I.V. streets for the duration of the weekend. I.V. residents have faced major limits on parking, and major areas of I.V. have been fenced off from the outside world.
In March, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors amended an existing I.V. festival ordinance, disallowing music audible from the streets between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. every night of a designated weekend. Currently, Halloween weekend and Deltopia both count as designated weekends.
UCSB itself has contributed to the effort to clamp down on Halloween festivities. The school spent close to $30,000 on advertisements that aired on social media channels, warning out-of-towners not to show up to I.V. for the weekend, officials confirmed.
The university also closed off residence halls for the duration of the weekend, not allowing on-campus residents to host visitors. Advertisements calling for students to “keep it local” also ran on local television channels.
Meanwhile, Associated Students at UC Santa Barbara has worked to create alternatives to partying. A.S. Program Board hosted Delirium 2017, an annual Halloween concert, on Friday at the UCSB Events Center — better known as the Thunderdome.
Students ramped up their own efforts in recent years to reduce the Halloween craziness of old. UCIslaVista (UCIV), an A.S. volunteer organization designed to keep things safe on popular I.V. weekends like Halloween or Deltopia, hosted water stations in I.V., helped connect students to medical services, and warned houses at risk of a noise ordinance violation. For Halloween this year, UCIV also handed out candy in front of several houses.
Hugh Cook contributed reporting.