To keep Halloween as safe as possible this year, UC Santa Barbara is discouraging non-UCSB students from parking on campus this weekend. Any vehicles parked on campus from Friday evening through Tuesday morning without a UCSB permit will be cited and towed.
UCSB Dean of Students Yonie Harris said in a letter to the Mustang Daily that the Sheriff’s Department will also be closing off certain parts of Isla Vista, an off-campus apartment neighborhood that mostly houses students, to vehicular traffic.
“I know in the past that Isla Vista is a big magnet,” said Lt. Paul McCaffrey of the Santa Barbara Police Department. “They draw students from all over the country who make the pilgrimage into Santa Barbara. If they show up and didn’t put any planning into it and find they have nowhere to park, that discourages huge numbers of outside-the-area people from coming in.”
Harris noted in the letter that UCSB is cutting off parking for security reasons and to lessen the number of outsiders who come to Isla Vista just to party.
“We realize that these measures may seem stringent; but in fact, their restrictive nature is intentional,” Harris wrote. “In an effort to increase safety, we are hoping to discourage non-residents from visiting the Isla Vista community over the Halloween weekend.”
Lt. Sol Linver, the station commander of the Isla Vista foot patrol, said that about 100 officers will be in the area from Friday through Monday night.
“One of the big things is to try to keep this a local event,” Linver said. “There’s going to be very, very limited parking. Many of the businesses of the area such as the Kmart- will be towing vehicles that are there late at night.”
Linver said that about 30 vehicles were towed last year when the campus enforced the same parking restrictions. He added that more local businesses will tow anyone parked in their parking lots late at night.
“This year, they (businesses) have actually secured tow companies,” he said.
McCaffrey said that Santa Barbara police officers have a long history of handling Halloween parties among college students, more so than San Luis Obispo and its Mardi Gras celebrations.
“We’ve had a lot more experience out in Isla Vista with huge crowds and problems,” McCaffrey said. “And I think that was new to San Luis Obispo but it’s not new to us. Back in the 70s, Isla Vista was a huge draw for people who wanted to celebrate and party.”
Harris said in the letter that the California Highway Patrol will set up DUI checkpoints “at strategic locations in the local community throughout the weekend.”
“We believe that drunk drivers are there to wreck the holiday,” McCaffrey said. “- Santa Barbara ranks, in the last several years, in the top three in enforcement based on our population.”
Last year, Santa Barbara police arrested 384 people and issued another 340 citations over Halloween weekend, according to a Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control press release.
Cal Poly architecture senior Jason Cope grew up in Santa Barbara and lived there for 19 years. However, he has only been to Isla Vista once for Halloween.
“I think people should be able to go down if they want to,” Cope said of UCSB’s decision to restrict parking. “But at the same time, I actually do think it’s a good idea because it’s already so overcrowded just with Santa Barbara kids. More people coming to town would probably just create more problems.”
This weekend, Graphic communications senior Alan Navarro will be going down to experience Halloween in Santa Barbara for his third time. He described the scene in one word: madness.
“It’s just a bunch of students all dressed up walking through the street drinking,” Navarro said. “There’s just house after house open. You can pretty much walk into most houses and just party.”
Although more police will be on patrol this weekend, McCaffrey stressed that their presence is purely for safety.
“We’re not out to spoil anything, but at the same time, we want (students) to be responsible and safe for everyone,” McCaffrey said. “Those are very important goals for us.”