Halloween and “Deltopia” Made Safer by UCIV Volunteer Program

Associated Students at the University of California, Santa Barbara piloted the new UCIV program during the Halloween and “Deltopia” festivities and street parties in Isla Vista during 2015-16. These major block parties typically brought in over 10,000 people to the dense community of Isla Vista, often resulting in high levels of crime and injury. For Deltopia 2014, a zero-tolerance policy was instituted, as well as a doubling of all fines incurred on those dates. However, that year saw very high levels of arrests, citations, hospitalizations and ended in a civil disturbance late into the night. So the following year, invited by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department, students began an initiative to use a community-oriented approach to the problem and UCIV was born. UCIV is a student-initiated, volunteer program that was established to facilitate public safety and well-being in Isla Vista.

The UCIV volunteer program facilitates public safety by using student leaders and volunteers to keep community members aware of the laws they may be in violation of. They provide residents with the knowledge and resources to make informed decisions about the well-being of both themselves and their community. For the block party, Deltopia 2015, UCIV fielded 45 volunteers to act as mediators to prevent conflict and promote peaceful interactions between public safety officers, Isla Vista residents, and community visitors. The volunteers walked among the community in groups, providing reminders of the noise ordinance, handing out water bottles, and even connecting two overdosed residents with medical assistance. Due to the collaborative efforts between the community and law enforcement, Deltopia 2015 experienced a 26% reduction in arrests, a 21% reduction in citations, and an 82% reduction in medical transports from 2014.

The power of UCIV lies in its ability to increase public safety while also facilitating an environment where residents can feel both safe and welcome. Both the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department and University Police Department reported many more positive interactions between law enforcement and residents. The UCIV program complements the efforts of UC Santa Barbara and other community and student organizations and builds upon these efforts to provide and promote opportunities for residents to improve safety and the quality of life in their community. With this model, UCIV has expanded its services during major events by coordinating its efforts with like-minded organizations. During Deltopia 2016, the UCIV program fielded over 100 volunteers throughout the night, representing all facets of the university population. Snacks, water, and condoms were distributed at stations throughout the day, and, through collaboration with Take Back the Night (an Associated Students group raising awareness about issues surrounding sexual violence), a safe space was provided for survivors of sexual assault.

Associated Student is now implementing a comprehensive year-round UCIV program. It would operate on Friday and Saturday evenings during each ten-week fall, winter, and spring academic quarter each year. The comprehensive UCIV program would expand upon its successful pilot program to employ students, staff, and interns for weekly operations; provide professional, mandatory training for staff and volunteers using UCSB and community resources; and form a UCIV board of stakeholders to craft policies and procedures and meet regularly to provide oversight of the program. This program would be able to field three teams of well-trained student staff and volunteers, providing these important services every weekend.

Ashcon Minoiefar
External Vice President for Local Affairs
Associated Students

Dwayne Mosbey
UCIV Coordinator for the Public Safety Commission
Associated Students

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