This year, Isla Vista, a popular residential area for UCSB students and California’s most infamous Halloween destination, will be increasing its police force from the 20 officers present on the average weekend to 150 officers for the full Halloween weekend.
All law enforcement has been briefed for zero-tolerance on alcohol violation, urinating in public and sexual battery assault.
“My advice for students planning on coming to Isla Vista this weekend would be not to come,” said Sgt. Matt Bowman of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department
He spoke on behalf of the Keep It Local campaign, which is dedicated to educating the local community to not invite friends to Isla Vista for the Halloween weekend. Several measures have been put in place to discourage outside attendance.
Public parking on campus will not be permitted for the weekend and nobody will be allowed to play amplified music at any point in the night. In addition, the Sheriff’s department has installed bright lights on the street especially for this weekend.
“Thousands of people walking around with no music and stark white lights on them… I think many people who come will end up disappointed,” Bowman said.
Every year Halloween in Isla Vista draws $1 million from Santa Barbara’s resources. Two years ago, the nearest hospital was shut down from the huge influx of sick and injured students. Yet, every Halloween, 30 to 40,000 students flock to Isla Vista looking for a good time.
California State University, Chico is northern California’s own version of Isla Vista, hosting thousands of additional students each year on Halloween weekend. The Chico Campus Police Department will be bringing in between 18 and 20 additional officers, working in collaboration with the city and other CSUs.
In addition, Butte County, where Chico resides, maintains the policy that on popular visiting weekends, the District Attorney will be required to prosecute all crimes, even ones commonly dropped. For example, anyone arrested for drunkenness in public Halloween weekend will be charged, though not necessarily convicted.
“There are going to be a lot of officers to ensure safety and if they come up they need to have a plan. We don’t want anybody sleeping in vehicles. We just want everybody to be safe,” said Sgt. Corinne Beck of the Chico Campus Police Department.
Less notorious for out-of-control behavior on Halloween, the UC Davis Police Department will be staffing as usual and participating in regular safe party patrols. And, as always, both warnings and citations will be given out.
“My advice is always not to drink and drive, to be responsible and watch out for each other,” said UC Davis Police Department Chief Annette Spicuzza. “We want everyone to enjoy Halloween, but more importantly to be able to enjoy the day after.”
MELISSA FREEMAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.