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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 10:27 am | Fair 60º


Bustling and Mostly Tame Deltopia Returns to Isla Vista, Though Incidents Keep Responders Busy

Estimated crowds of 6,000-8,000 take to streets for annual unsanctioned street party, but several arrests mar festivities


With the threat of rain over by sunrise, Isla Vista’s Deltopia celebration proceeded Saturday as planned — or, rather, as unplanned.

The college community’s annual beach-themed day of parties and congregating on Del Playa Drive went off much as it did last year: sunny and bustling, but with a couple of noteworthy incidents.

“Generally, very calm,” was how UC Santa Barbara student Sam Seibel put it.

Seibel and fellow students were out on the streets handing out water, snacks, condoms and advice to revelers as part of UCIV, a UCSB Associated Students program backed by AS’ Public Safety Commission.

The group has been a liaison between students and law enforcement, provides warnings before partiers violate an ordinance and connects partygoers in distress to the right authorities or medical team.

Seibel characterized the unsanctioned event, informally scheduled for the first Saturday after the start of UCSB’s spring quarter, as larger than last year’s, but calmer overall and more local.

“It’s been going well,” said Adham Btaddini, another UCIV volunteer throwing packages of cookies out to passersby.

“We’ve seen a few drunk people every once and while. We make sure they’re OK, and if their friends are with them, get them going.”

Crowds were estimated to have topped out between 6,000 and 8,000, according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

By the end of the night, 42 arrests, 68 citations and 14 medical transports had been made, she said.

Two afternoon incidents broke up the otherwise tame event, however.

A 19-year-old UCSB student was transported to the hospital after a sheriff’s K9 apprehended him after he resisted arrest for minor in possession in the 6500 block of Del Playa Drive.

“During the contact, the student resisted arrest, causing a deputy to fall and sustain a significant injury, which required transportation to the hospital,” Hoover said.

She said the K9 apprehended the student — identified as Arod Rahim — after he refused for nearly a half-hour to come out from a house he had holed up in the 6600 block of Del Playa.

Hoover added that after Rahim is released from the hospital, he’ll be booked into County Jail on charges of resisting arrest, causing injuries to a peace officer and being a minor in possession of alcohol.

Three hours later, a 22-year-old woman was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with moderate injuries after falling down to the beach from a balcony of a house in the 6600 block of Del Playa Drive.

Around 12:30 a.m., before Deltopia started, three men from Los Angeles and the Antelope Valley were arrested after getting into a fight with residents in the 800 block of Camino Lindo. Hoover said they were booked into jail on charges of battery as well as battery with serious bodily injuries.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, last year’s Deltopia saw crowds of 3,500, with 45 arrests and 10 trips to the hospital. The 2016 and 2017 figures are down from previous years, where crowds would top 15,000 and the number of arrests broke into the triple-digit range.

Both law enforcement and UCSB made sure to prep for the event nonetheless, with roadblocks in and checkpoints near I.V., restricted parking on campus and in nearby Goleta neighborhoods, and alternative activities on campus.

Drawing thousands of students away from after-dark parties was UCSB’s third-annual Warm Up concert on campus.

Students, the university and law enforcement have credited Deltopia’s shrinking size and impact to both greater collaboration between those groups and a growing desire by the latter to keep the event local.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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