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Central Coast News

Local government says Deltopia weekend sees ‘historic drop in arrests,’ despite multiple injuries

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Santa Barbara County Fire
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Officials reported a number of balconies were over crowded during Deltopia weekend.

Deltopia weekend has made headlines as a dangerous and uncontrolled beach party that takes place in Isla Vista each year at the start of UC Santa Barbara’s spring quarter.

Despite multiple arrests and reported injuries, the local government is saying last weekend’s Deltopia event was relatively successful in terms of safety.

Law enforcement, fire officials and the university all partnered to put safety measures in place ahead of the unsanctioned event. Campus beaches were closed and parking was limited through Sunday to discourage out-of-town visitors.

The Isla Vista Community Services District (IVCSD) is the local government that serves the 17,000 residents in the area. They worked with UC Santa Barbara for the first time this year to put on an alternative event during Deltopia called Spring Festival. It featured food, games, music and local Isla Vista artists.

“Our goal was to create one large event that was done with pre-planning, safety and fun in mind,” said IVCSD President Spencer Brandt.

He said a lot of the safety challenges that Isla Vista sees during Deltopia weekend are a result of multiple events going on at the same time on private properties.

Brandt said responding to potentially unsafe social activities requires a diverse approach. He said this festival is an example of that.

“We can’t just come in assuming that law enforcement and safety partners are going to be the only ones who can try and make this weekend safer. We need to give people a fun and healthy outlet,” Brandt said.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department declared a multi-casualty incident (MCI) over the weekend due to a number of medical emergencies associated with the heavy crowds in Isla Vista. The MCI helps injured people gain quicker access to local hospitals, though it was rescinded after call volumes dropped.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office reported four arrests and 34 citations during Deltopia weekend. Still, Brandt said Isla Vista saw an historic drop in citations and arrests this year.

“The vast majority of folks in Isla Vista enjoyed this weekend safely and complied with all the special ordinances without any exceptions,” Brandt said.

Brandt said the IVCSD has plans to continue hosting Spring Festival in the future to provide residents with a safe alternative to the unsanctioned events during Deltopia weekend.

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