Crime Statistics Show a Decrease in Isla Vista Halloween Arrests

Image Courtesy of Senior Airman Nick J. Damiello | Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash.

Jessica Reincke

As Halloween approaches in Isla Vista and the fences come up, community members are reminded of the holiday’s past in this city and how far we have come since then. The official Halloween crime stats in Isla Vista from 2014-2017 show a decrease in the number of arrests each year and an overall decrease in the number of citations.  

Since 2014, Isla Vista has seen a significant increase in safety measures taken to ensure Halloween here remains local and safe. With evidence of continuing decreases in citations and arrests provided by UC Santa Barbara police department Lt. Robert Romero, it will be interesting to see if this year shows similar results.

This evidence of decreasing criminal activity is noteworthy since the time frame of these statistics gets larger over time.  While the number of arrests and citations in 2014 and 2015 are over a three day period and the statistics in 2016 are taken from a four day period, the numbers calculated in the 2017 statistics are taken over a five day period.  

While keeping the time frame of these statistics in mind, the arrest numbers dropping from 32 in 2014 to 28 in 2015, 15 in 2016, and 13 in 2017 appear more noteworthy. This is also true when examining how the number of citations drop overall from 38 in 2014 to only 5 in 2017.  

This suggests that crime during Halloween in Isla Vista is actually decreasing at a higher percentage than the numbers alone report.  

Lt. Romero cites help from partners on campus, and in Isla Vista and Goleta in explaining the decrease in crime.

“We have worked very hard to keep the unsanctioned Halloween weekend local and for our community,” said Lt. Romero. He then goes on to state that “publicity, education, along strict parking enforcement on campus and in Goleta has greatly reduced the amount of out of towners coming into our community.”

One event that has played a significant role in these results is the annual Delirium concert that UCSB organizes for students. According to Romero, the concert “really helped in giving [students] an alternative to just hanging out with out of town friends in Isla Vista.”

Romero explains that the UCPD is “pleased with community effort to keep things local and fun … the collaboration between campus, Isla Vista, and Goleta stakeholders is what keeps these big events safe for everyone.”

While these results reflect positively on the increased levels of safety Isla Vista has achieved over the years, the question still remains as to what is actually the cause of this success.  

A lot of main concerns in the past seem to have resolved themselves over time. Students from past years who brought in out of towners have graduated and left Isla Vista behind. Some current students even leave town for the weekend due to the increased safety measures or desire to get away from the excitement.

With all of these new factors occurring in addition to all the efforts locals have put into making Isla Vista safer for the people living here, it is difficult to pinpoint any exact causes that have lead to Halloween festivities becoming more local and safe.  Regardless, Romero addressed the question of Halloween becoming more local by stating, “a lot of credit goes to the students themselves.”