The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has reversed course and decided not to install cameras on Isla Vista’s Del Playa Drive this weekend to monitor Halloween festivities.
The department originally planned to have cameras put up on Del Playa from Friday to Sunday or Monday. However, that will no longer be the case, according to Spencer Brandt, board president of the Isla Vista Community Services District.
The decision comes after community pushback to the cameras, including an online petition and comments at a recent IVCSD meeting.
Students who live in Isla Vista voiced their opposition of the cameras at the IVCSD’s virtual town hall meeting held on Zoom last Friday.
During the meeting, Garrett TeSlaa, station lieutenant for the Isla Vista Foot Patrol, attended to answer questions and listen to community concerns about the cameras being installed.
The sheriff’s Isla Vista Foot Patrol has utilized security cameras every year since the 1990s, with the exception of 2020 and 2021, TeSlaa said at the Oct. 21 meeting.
Isla Vista Community Relations Committee members were concerned that the cameras would be used to identify individuals for non-serious crimes such as underage drinking, that they would be up for longer than just the Halloween weekend, and that they would be placed on streets beyond Del Playa, according to member and UCSB student Yiu-On Li.
TeSlaa said the cameras would not have been up for more than the weekend, given that they are not owned by the Isla Vista Foot Patrol, rather borrowed from another agency.
Additionally, TeSlaa mentioned that cameras would have been used only to film public streets.
“It’s not gonna be used to look into backyards,” TeSlaa said of the camera system. “It’s not gonna be used to look into windows. We need warrants for those kinds of things, and we would be in violation of the law if we used those.”
Each year, the Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies increase staffing in the Isla Vista community for Halloween weekend and other weekends that traditionally have drawn large crowds of partiers to the area.
The agency also has an outdoor festival ordinance in effect that prohibits an “outdoor festival” or other musical activity held in a place other than one designed for playing live music.
The ordinance will be in place from Wednesday to next Friday from the hours of 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., and will cover El Colegio Road, Camino Majorca to Storke Road, Ocean Road to Stadium Road and the Pacific Ocean in the unincorporated area of Isla Vista.
Parking restrictions will also be in place in Isla Vista and nearby communities from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“Everybody leaves I.V. for Halloween,” Yael Berukhim, off-campus senator for UCSB’s Associated Students, said during the town hall meeting last week. Berukhim said this is because extra policing is added during the weekend.
There are Halloween events planned all weekend in Isla Vista and the rest of Santa Barbara County.