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The Incredible Shrinking Crowd

Isla Vista Sees Far Fewer Halloween Revelers This Year


Only 25,000 people celebrated Halloween this weekend in Isla Vista, which is half the number of partyers that law enforcement officers expected. Based on last year’s crowd count of 45,000 people, officers had prepared for 50,000 people this year.

The 250 sworn law enforcement personnel and at least 100 support staff, however, stayed busy despite the reduced crowd. As of Sunday morning, the Sheriff’s Department reported 311 arrests and 701 citations for the entire Halloween weekend; alcohol reportedly played a part in the majority of incidents. More than 50 revelers were hospitalized and, again, alcohol was to blame for most of the injuries. There were no reports of anyone falling off the cliffs.

The number of citations and arrests were up from 2008. Last year, police made 234 arrests and issued 551 citations. According to Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Drew Sugars, this year’s crowd was more compliant compared to last year’s mob-like crowd, which made it easier for officers to move about the crowd and remain in control. Additionally, there was far less violence, allowing officers to spend more time writing citations rather than restraining violent people.

Of the 111 vehicles stopped over the weekend, 40 DUI investigations were carried out and seven DUI suspects were arrested. One of them was charged with battery on a peace officer after kicking the door of a patrol car into an officer. The offender also had a $10,000 warrant out for his arrest, according to Deputy Win Smith.

Halloween weekend cost the Sheriff’s Department $500,000. Once other state and county resources are taken into account, that bill could total as much as $1 million.

Rebecca Bratburd is an Independent intern.

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