With the fall quarter around the corner, Isla Vista Foot Patrol is gearing up for a “No Open Container” campaign to educate incoming students about the Santa Barbara County ordinance that prohibits open containers in public areas of the community.
“Every year we have a new group of residents who live on or near Isla Vista who are unaware of the culture or laws associated with the community,” said Raquel Zick, public information manager for Isla Vista. Isla Vista Foot Patrol (IVFP), in a statement to the Nexus. . “The goal of the No Open Container program is to inform new and returning students that open containers are not permitted in public spaces in the community, such as sidewalks, streets, parks and beaches. ”
Zick added that this campaign will allow IVFP deputies and officers to interact with incoming students in an open setting.
“It will also allow deputies and officers to interact with new students in a positive way to help build relationships and provide them with resources to help them thrive in their new community,” she said.
IVFP Community Resource Assistant Justin Schroeder said that order has been in place for years across California.
“It’s actually a county ordinance [that] applies throughout the unincorporated area of Santa Barbara County and each city has its own ordinances stating essentially the same thing,” he said in a statement to The Nexus.
The arrangementSanta Barbara County 36-3, considers the consumption of “intoxicating liquor” in “unincorporated areas of the county” on any public street, sidewalk, highway, parking lot, or driveway to be illegal.
“I believe every county in California has a law prohibiting open containers and most US states have some kind of similar ordinance as well,” he said. “Most open container citations are issued in Isla Vista, but there is also a significant amount written in the unincorporated area near Goleta.”
Schroeder said the information program has been in place for years to prevent community members from violating the ordinance by mistake or because they were unaware of the law.
“There are a lot of young people from out of the country who get citations and claim they didn’t know having an open container was illegal because it’s legal in their country,” he said. . “So we’re hoping we can let these people know before they accidentally break the law and get a ticket.”
“I also think it will be a good reminder for people who might accidentally leave a party holding an open container, so if they see a sign they might just get rid of that drink before they run into a law enforcement officer. order and [getting] a ticket,” Schroeder continued. “The main mission is to provide information to new residents so that they know the rules, stay safe and do not receive a ticket.”
Isla Vista Community Services District (IVCSD) Director and Chair Spencer Brandt expressed personal concerns about the campaign, from potential racial disparities in its application to invoking a sense of community of living in a ” Police state”.
“I have friends who were pulled over, just to get a bottle of water, and they were asked to hand it over so law enforcement could investigate it and smell it,” Brandt said. “In many cases the people who are arrested are not doing anything wrong, so it can be very uncomfortable for the person being arrested in that situation.”
Brandt noted that there are also racial disparities in the enforcement of the ordinance, citing that while black residents make up 3.3% of Isla Vista’s population, they are arrested and cited at a rate more than double. of their population, according to Data found by IVCSD staff in 2019.
“I don’t think it’s fair,” he said. “I don’t think that’s conducive to building a good relationship between law enforcement and the community.”
Brandt said enforcement of the ordinance is typically heaviest during Isla Vista weekends, especially during events like Deltopia Weekend — an annual street party not permitted in IV. .
“In the past, I think it’s really made people feel like they’re living in a police state, a kind of environment that doesn’t always feel safe,” Brandt said.
However, the IVFP is focusing more on education than enforcement this year, according to the presentation it made at the IVCSD meeting on August 9 this year.
“I think education rather than law enforcement is really key for law enforcement to build strong and open relationships with the community,” Brandt said. “I’m glad to hear there will be more education because for many residents who are new to our community, they may not know what the local laws are.”
The campaign’s original plan was to speak at the orientation of UC Santa Barbara freshmen, but Schroeder said the IVFP was unable to do so. He said they would probably do a door-to-door campaign with flyers instead.
Schroeder said, “UCSB is also talking about possibly having ‘IV 101’ briefings at the IV Theater where I could speak, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet.”