Crime & Justice

'Deltopia' street party in Santa Barbara much calmer this year after 2014 riot

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office deputies approach a group of young people during the Deltopia spring break party in the Isla Vista neighborhood of Santa Barbara on Saturday, April 4, 2015.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office deputies approach a group of young people during the Deltopia spring break party in the Isla Vista neighborhood of Santa Barbara on Saturday, April 4, 2015.
Santa Barbara County Fire Department

An annual spring break street party in Santa Barbara that last year erupted into a riot, was much quieter on Saturday, with fewer people in attendance, police said.

"There were no major incidents related to the unsanctioned spring break street party in Isla Vista known as Deltopia," the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office stated in a press release.

Attendance at the party peaked in the afternoon at approximately 10,000 people and dwindled to about 500 by 9:30 p.m., dramatically lower than the 20,000 to 25,000 people who attended last year and 15,000 to 18,000 people in 2013, the sheriff's office said.

One of the factors cited as a factor in the out-of-control scene that erupted last year was the influx of out-of-town young people who descended on Isla Vista for the party. Officials said the number of nonresidents attending the party this year was down considerably.

"The Sheriff’s Office wants to thank the students in Isla Vista who made a conscientious effort not to invite out-of-towners to the event, and who made a point not to open their doors to people they did not know," the sheriff's statement said. "We would also like to thank the University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College and the Isla Vista Safe coalition for its campaigns to encourage students to keep the event local."

Law enforcement was increased this year as well, with UCSB providing more than 100 police officers from UC campuses, in addition to sheriff’s deputies and police officers provided by the city of Santa Barbara and neighboring police departments in Lompoc, Santa Maria and Santa Monica, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Ventura County Search and Rescue Teams,  the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, California Highway Patrol, Alcohol Beverage Control and several other allied agencies.

"The festival ordinance which prohibited music after 6 p.m. and the restricted parking on the part of the city of Goleta, UCSB and the sheriff’s office were instrumental in limiting the crowd size," the sheriff's statement said.

Due to the increased law enforcement presence, however, arrests and citations remained high, the sheriff said.

Police made 102 arrests and issued 140 citations, compared to 130 arrests and 190 citations in 2014. Nine people were transported to hospitals, compared to 50 last year.

Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Dave Zaniboni said paramedics responded to 26 calls, mostly for alcohol-related medical emergencies.

"It was a relatively quiet night in Isla Vista for as many people who were out there," Zaniboni said.