The camera security towers in Isla Vista will be taken down on Monday, a week after the Deltopia event for which they were installed.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department asked UCSB to cover the cost of the six cameras, which were placed in areas where people would congregate during Deltopia. The annual spring break street party escalated into a riotous crowd Saturday night with backup law enforcement personnel deploying tear gas canisters and rubber bullets.
UC Santa Barbara installed CamGuard towers on the campus and university-owned property in Isla Vista — at the IV Theater and Embarcadero Hall — in early March as a response to recent sexual assaults.
Suspects are still at large in a violent sexual assault and beating of a 19-year-old female student on the campus.
The university won’t know how much the rentals cost until all the cameras come down, news director George Foulsham said. The cameras were approved by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services.
The second set was installed last week, and the camera towers are operated and monitored by the Sheriff’s Department. There was a live feed during Deltopia that was monitored part of the time, and the cameras recorded video for the entire weekend, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.
Authorities plan to review the video and identify more people involved in the “riotous behavior” and assaults on law enforcement officers Saturday night, Sheriff Bill Brown told the county Board of Supervisors.
The cameras will come down on Monday and the county is “evaluating their effectiveness,” Hoover said.
The Isla Vista Foot Patrol monitoring the feed and accessing the videos from the cameras even though UCSB paid for the rentals.
Student leaders don’t appreciate the university and county installing cameras without any outreach or prior discussion.
“There’s a lot of student discontent about the cameras, specifically the way they went up,” said Alex Moore, Associated Students external vice president of local affairs. “I’m the first person to agree that one sexual assault is too many sexual assaults. I was the co-chair of Take Back the Night last year and have two younger sisters, so this issue is so close to my heart, but I’m not comfortable with it being used to justify indefinite surveillance.”
At a recent Associated Student Senate meeting, students said the process wasn’t transparent. They’ve filed a public information request to get more information about the cameras.
“Students and the community in Isla Vista feel like they weren’t consulted,” Moore said.
He and other student leaders also asked the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors for an independent Civil Grand Jury investigation of the Deltopia events.
The Sheriff’s Department is the agency looking into the unrest and wants people to send in pictures or videos from Saturday night. The county partnered with the Large Emergency Event Digital Information Repository, where people can submit images and video anonymously.