Santa Barbara Police Department officials are reporting a relatively quiet Fiesta celebration, which spanned five days starting last Wednesday and lasting through the weekend.
Police reported a higher number of felony and misdemeanor arrests than last year, as well as a surge in parking citations given out, according to Sgt. Riley Harwood.
Recent Fiesta celebrations have been somewhat subdued, Harwood said, and DUI arrests were down slightly this year — 22 compared with 24 in 2011.
Police made 48 felony arrests this year, compared with 32 a year ago, and many of those occurred after officers stopped suspects and found that they had outstanding warrants or were violating probation. The highest number of those arrests occurred on Saturday, with 18 being reported.
Misdemeanor arrests were also up, with 170 made this year compared to 116 last year. Notably, there were no significant gang incidents this year, and dozens of gang enforcement officers were on the streets to patrol Friday and Saturday.
Parking citations increased dramatically, with 307 issued, up from 145 in 2011. Traffic citations also were up from last year, with 414 given out this year compared with 331 last year.
Harwood said that although the department suspended parking enforcement of 75- and 90-minute zones on Friday to accommodate spectators during the Fiesta Historical Parade, people continued to park in yellow and green zones, perhaps under the false assumption that all enforcement had been suspended.
Harwood also confirmed that dispatch got a number of calls regarding the unofficial Fiesta bike ride that occurred Sunday, in which hundreds of riders took to the streets in an unpermitted 30-mile ride, a portion of which runs up State Street.
Several hundred riders left the city during the ride out to Isla Vista and back, but were warned by police when they re-entered the city and were denied access to the wharf, where rider have ridden off the pier in the past.
Harwood said he hadn’t seen reports of any traffic collisions were attributed to the bike ride.
“Every year folks show up [at the wharf] and we turn them away,” he said, adding that the department continues to assess how to deal with the event.