Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Fiesta crime statistics released


With another Old Spanish Days celebration in the bag, local law enforcement officials released citation and arrest statistics for the five days of Fiesta festivities.
While a cadre of officers kept the streets of Santa Barbara relatively quiet and free from any major incidents, authorities ended up arresting a total of 158 people, according to figures released by the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Those arrests included 33 for felony violations, 104 for misdemeanor offenses and 21 for driving under the influence.
Sgt. Lorenzo Duarte said while the number of felony bookings jumped from 21 last year, many were related to parole violations or felony warrants.
“We did have a few fights — what we would call assault with a deadly weapon,” he added.
However, most involved suspects arrested during traffic stops after officers determined they had violated parole, Sgt. Duarte said, or others who were booked for warrants related to theft or possession of a controlled substance.
He also offered a possible explanation for the jump in felony arrests compared with last year’s figures. Following an officer-involved shooting on State Street last year in the midst of crowds of revelers, he said a lengthy investigation forced many officers to drop their Fiesta patrol assignment to look into various aspects of the case.
“I was pulled off my Fiesta detail,” Sgt. Duarte said.
Officers had to investigate the crime scene, transport and interview witnesses, and protect evidence, he said, along with paperwork and other aspects of a major investigation.
“I remember that investigation went into the wee hours of the morning,” he said. “I truly believe that affected the stats.”
Saturday proved the busiest for law enforcement this year with a total of 60 arrests, including 11 felonies and 43 misdemeanors. Friday also saw high figures, with 54 arrests.
Police officers also issued a total of 1,102 citations — a majority of which involved traffic or parking violations. More than 525 traffic tickets were handed out, along with 255 parking citations.
With no major incidents, however, Sgt. Duarte said police officials are pleased with how the five-day event unfolded.
“We like police work, but we also like seeing people enjoy themselves and remain safe,” he said. “I’ll tell ya, every once in a while when we get a quiet one, it’s appreciated.”

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