Friday, October 31, 2008

Police boost I.V. patrol for Halloween


Local law enforcement agencies are significantly stepping up their presence in and around Isla Vista this weekend in anticipation of a Halloween celebration that will be predictably rowdy.
According to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, 231 arrests were made in Isla Vista during last year’s Halloween celebration and 411 citations were issued, the majority of which were alcohol related.

Isla Vista is renowned for its Halloween festivities, which consistently draw as many as 30,000 people to the seaside college enclave.
This number of revelers nearly doubles the town’s population of roughly 17,000. And year-after-year, trouble accompanies the party.
“Many don’t realize that the Halloween celebration in I.V. is far from glamorous,” said Drew Sugars, a public information officer for the Sheriff’s Department. “Alcohol poisonings, sexual assaults, drunken fights and unruly crowds are just some of the difficult tasks deputies face in the early morning hours, much of it simply too graphic to be shown in print or on television.”
Sugars said the most challenging time for law enforcement arrives after 1 a.m.; long after news crews have called it quits.
Sugars said the Sheriff’s Department, with the help of several other agencies, will have more than 200 officers on the streets over the weekend.
“Due to the danger posed to people and the impact on the community, the Sheriff’s Department will continue its policy of maximum enforcement during the Halloween weekend,” he said.
The increased law enforcement presence doesn’t come cheap to taxpayers.
In 2006, the Sheriff’s Department budgeted $228,000 to cover the one weekend event.
Sugars emphasized the Sheriff’s Department won’t tolerate underage drinking, saying mobile booking units will be set up to handle the large number of intoxicated people.
Avoid the 12, a multi-agency effort to battle drunken driving, is allocating four extra patrol cars with the sole purpose of preventing intoxicated drivers from entering or leaving Isla Vista.
Sugars said patrols around Isla Vista and Goleta will also be stepped-up to battle drunken driving.
A statement from the Sheriff’s Department didn’t say if any roads around Isla Vista would be closed, though in the past, several road closures have occurred. Attempts to reach Sugars for comment on road closures were not successful.
Sugars said parking will once again be extremely limited in Isla Vista, with all cars barred from parking on Del Playa Drive from 5 p.m. today until 8 a.m. on Sunday.
The California Highway Patrol announced yesterday it will conduct a sobriety checkpoint tomorrow in the Goleta area.
During a DUI checkpoint last year, the CHP made eight drunken driving arrests. The checkpoint will be operated from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. The location of the checkpoint has not yet been announced.

While Isla Vista is a major focus of local agencies, CHP officials urge parents to keep a close eye on young children as well.
“Halloween is an exciting event for children, but streets are dark and traffic is heavy,” said CHP Capt. Jeff Sgobba. “While children are putting on their costumes, parents should remind them about basic pedestrian safety — stay with parents or a group, cross at the corner and check for traffic before crossing the street.”
Sgobba said the most effective way to keep children safe is to accompany them house to house.
He said parents should also take precautions to ensure costumes are safe. One way Sgobba said this could be accomplished is to attach reflective tape to costumes, and encourage children to wear makeup rather than masks to increase range of vision.
“This day can be a time of fun and fantasy for children,” Sgobba said. “Don’t let it turn into a tragedy. Make safety a priority as you go from door-to-door.”

1 comment:

Lisa @ Serah's said...

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween!