Isla Vista’s Halloween
Sex, drugs, riots, and lingerie. No, this isn’t a 1972 Rolling Stones concert, it’s what happens during the infamous Isla Vista Halloween parties surrounding UC Santa Barbara.
Although some students may be having fun, the Isla Vista Foot Patrol has once again implemented a zero tolerance agenda. This old police custom won’t give students a second chance after breaking the laws on Halloween.
“Extra precautions will be taken to ensure the safety of the students and will mostly be seen the weekend prior and up to the 31,” said Lieutenant Sol Linver with the Isla Vista Foot Patrol . Street barricades, D.U.I check points and up to 160 officers will be placed in Isla Vista in preparation for the week’s events.
The foot patrol will also try a new policy for this year’s hooligans. To relieve some stress off of the county’s court systems, the foot patrol has added the administrative citation process. Students who may break the law on Halloween wouldn’t only break federal and state laws, but Goleta city laws as well. So instead of having to pay their fines through the county justice system, they will be paying them directly to the city to help relieve congestion in the court systems.
If a student wishes to contest a citation from Halloween, they can go to a special hearing officer hired specifically for Halloween citations. Students who do not pay these fines will have their case be sent to a credit office and will be added to their credit record.
“The overall goal of this new system is to take pressure off of the county court systems because the events of Halloween weekend will back up the courts for months,” Linver said.
For 30 years, UCSB has been known for its out-of-control party scene on Halloween weekend. The university reached its partying peak in 1992 when Playboy magazine rated UCSB the best party in America. An estimated 50,000 people flooded Isla Vista that year and more than a thousand people were arrested. Riots broke out. Things had reached a point of insanity, and the Sheriff’s Department put its foot down.
Linver said the foot patrol took no chances in the years to follow.
“We had to go to the extremes of massive police forces decked out in gas masks and night sticks,” Linver added.
Although the crowds of students were dangerous in the early 1990s, some say they are not nearly as violent today. The relationship between students and the foot patrol has grown to be a respectful one after many years of change.
“As for the foot patrol’s zero tolerance policy, I’m all for it. I like feeling safe while I’m out trying to have a good time,” Said Nick Myhre, a freshman at Santa Barbara City College.
“Our local students are doing a good job. They know the rules,” Linver said. For the most part, the students are trying to keep their community clean, he explained.
“It’s the outsiders who are trashing our town,” Lt. Linver said. The students who live in Isla Vista year round aren’t causing a lot of problems. According to a press release from Michael D. Young, UCSB’s vice chancellor for Student Affairs, between 80-90 percent of those arrested are from out of the area.
Even though the Sheriff’s Department has a mutual respect for the students, several zero- tolerance policies will be in place: No minors in possession of alcohol, no drinking in public, no driving or biking under the influence, no harmful costume props, no sexual harassment and no fights.
Citation fines will increase during Halloween week in order to discouraged illegal activity.
Fines for a minor in possession are up to $500 with a one-year license suspension. Public intoxication charges are up to a $1,000 and three years of probation. Charges for serving alcohol to minors can be up to $3,000 for each minor drinking at the party.
“The only lame part about the foot patrol is the costume barricades,” Myhre said. “I wanted to be a pimp, but sadly, I cannot. For a pimp can’t be without his cane.”
Street barricades that block entrances to Del Playa Drive will be set up at seven different locations throughout Isla Vista to try and stop any dangerous partiers from entering.
“A few years back we actually had a student dress up as the man from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Even though his costume was well planned, he ran through the street with a running chainsaw. We obviously took that away from him,” Linver said.
The foot patrol wants to avoid costume props to be turned into weapons. Overall, there will be up to 12 mounted officers on horseback, 160 officers on foot, and an estimated 30,000 college students looking to have a good time.
“All I have to say is, the more the merrier,” Myhre said. Most of the students living in Isla Vista are excited about the massive amounts of visitors even though the foot patrol views them as a burden.
However serious the Isla Vista Foot Patrol may seem about regulating Halloween, they always leave room to have a good time. Linver said that his team will take flash cards out on the streets with them and hold casual costume contests. The cards would display costume scores between one to 10 and provide the foot patrol with some good laughs on the job.
For tips on staying safe in Isla Vista, check out Halloween safety tips .