Visitors and Arrests Increase for 2023 Deltopia

By the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is releasing preliminary numbers related to the unsanctioned spring break event in Isla Vista known as Deltopia.

The Deltopia weekend this year started on Friday, April 7, 2023, and ended on Sunday, April 9, 2023. During this time, the Sheriff’s Office and partner agencies issued 151 citations and made 23 arrests. In 2022, there was a total of 34 citations issued and four arrests.

The crowds were largest on Saturday and significantly higher than last year’s event, and many attendees had traveled to Isla Vista from out of the area. The attendees were concentrated at residences along the ocean side of Del Playa.

During this same time, there was an increase in emergency medical calls, most of which were for acute alcohol intoxication. Deputies assisted fire and medics, responding to calls and clearing the roadway for their ingress and egress. Medical calls became so arduous that the Sheriff’s volunteer Search and Rescue team had to be activated to assist fire and medics.

Most residents complied with the Outdoor Festival Ordinance, which went into effect at 6 p.m.

The Sheriff’s Office wants to thank our community partners and first responders from Santa Barbara County Fire, American Medical Response, Alcoholic Beverage Control, University of California Police, the California Highway Patrol, Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, and Santa Barbara County Emergency Medical Services.

Photo: SBSO


Written by sbsheriff

Press releases written by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

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  1. Out of all these listed, our volunteer S&R is the only agency not pulling overtime or wages as a cost of this event nor do they ever charge for their services. They may kindly ask for a donation as they are a non profit and rely on the community to operate. Great group of men and women if you ever met them on the trails.

  2. As much as I hate to say it, maybe it’s time to completely “ban” the event.
    Maybe someone in Edhatland can poke some holes (why it’s false/misleading/completely wrong/etc.) in this interesting information about UCSB posted on ‘The Bottom Line’ (About Us: “The Bottom Line (TBL) is a student-run, student-funded newspaper at the University of California, Santa Barbara. TBL provides an independent printed and online space for journalism that engages UCSB and the community.”)
    “UCSB received a dubious distinction last week when it ranked #1 in Insurify’s rankings of The 20 most dangerous universities in the US. Insurify, an online insurance comparison site, based rankings on data collected from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) program in 2016.
    Insurify described the methodology behind its ranking in the article, stating that it pulled Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data from schools with an enrollment of 10,000 students or higher and ranked the 20 schools with the highest proportion of violent crime incidents per 10,000 students.
    Per the UCR website, the FBI considers violent crime to be any instance of murder or nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. UCSB, with an enrollment of 23,497, had a violent crime rate of 20.4 per 10k students, the highest of any other school on the list.”

  3. Is there any estimate for the costs incurred by the Sheriff and “community partners and first responders from Santa Barbara County Fire, American Medical Response, Alcoholic Beverage Control, University of California Police, the California Highway Patrol, Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, and Santa Barbara County Emergency Medical Services” to oversee this annual unsanctioned event? It’s going to happen every year so why not get a sponsor, sell tickets at event prices…say $300 per head… and at least not burden taxpayers to manage someone else’s party.

  4. “Banning” young people to congregate and drink beer is like telling them not to breathe. They will always find a way around it. We would be better off designating a place for it, provide adequate law enforcement to control distribution of harmful substances, and let them have their fun. Because they are going to do it anyway, esp. if we tell them they can’t. Would you ban Fiesta?

  5. Even when I was in this age group I never understood the attraction of gathering in a huge mob and milling around like a flock of sheep. I still don’t understand the attraction but obviously many do as evidenced by the numbers that show up for it. It doesn’t appear that it will change without more drastic action being taken. So we live with it every year…

  6. First responders of all kinds are “just doing their jobs” responding to homeless problems, deltopia problems and no one sane is disputing that. Facts say though that you need more of them. For Deltopia its all hands on deck, so that means big overtime for first responders. For the homeless it means more full time people than we would otherwise need. The hardest thing to find in a homeless encampment besides a trash can, is a woman that has not been raped. If you want to see how homeless populations use first responders, just stand outside the Fire Station on Cacique street. All day long, the Firefighters pull out of the station, the Police sirens sound and the AMR also blazes past. They usually only have to go about 3 blocks and most of the time its the same people over and over. While the narcan and/or first aid for alcohol poisoning is going on, there are over a thousand dollars of men, women, trucks, cars ambulances.
    Deltopia is not sponsored by anyone so it doesn’t have to pay for first responders, permits etc. If I wanted to host and event that large, I’d have to pay fees for all that upfront. By skirting this rule, Deltopia partiers push all the costs of their party (besides alcohol) onto the “taxpayer”. That isn’t a narrative, it is a fact. We can disagree about if it is a good use of taxpayer money, but facts are a large party like Deltopia needs more first responders than usual, so they cost more than usual. I think if we took a vote on if property owners throughout the county would agree as an option to pay an extra $20 a year each on their property tax bill for first responders for Deltopia, they’d vote no. Part of growing up and learning to be responsible is to pay your own bills. The bills and responsibilities don’t end at paying for the alcohol

  7. As an IV resident w/ boots on the ground, I have to say there’s some stuff that is not being mentioned & 1 such thing is the young man in the hospital whose prognosis is not looking good. It may end up a deltopia fatality if he dies, as a result of severe alcohol poisoning.
    Another thing not mentioned is the app called “Poppin’ UCSB” whose members put together huge pay-to-get-in parties & their biggest draw is out of town elements. I have to add the fact that NOBODY in IV likes the Poppin’ UCSB thing, check out these link:
    Pretty much says it all. On a personal note, I suffered a concussion, was riding my bicycle down Embarcadero Del Norte toward Little Acorn Park where the IVCSD arranged festival was taking place & a young female just walked right into my path on the bike lane.
    We both went down, my head hit the curb & I got knocked out for about a minute. She got messed up too, but her friends carted her away before emergency personnel arrived.
    The EMT’s attended to me, I was back on my feet & refused a hospital visit, continued on w/ my initial plan, a little sore the next day & some after-effects of a concussion, but I’m good.
    I want to take the time to thank the SB County Fire Department, SB Search & Rescue, SB Sheriff’s Office & UCPD for their presence & assistance during this unsanctioned event. They worked hard & their job is highly unappreciated.

  8. My son, who is 21 but gone to Delpopia in recent years was the one that told me about the outside company coming in and charging for “organized” party access this year. He and his friends expected more out of town partiers than in the past and the general risk of everything associated with it to be off the charts. Any local kid that I heard talk about it was disappointed that an independent company was coming in to take advantage of our community. In light of the numbers, I can only hope they can somehow be prevented from bringing their circus to our backyard again.
    We had the college party vibe nailed before they poked it.

  9. Sanctimonious old people have been judging college kids since the 16th century. University students in Europe back then were infamous for getting extremely drunk and causing chaos in town, even to the point of rioting. Us old folks date ourselves by shaking self-important fists at young people and denying them the fun we had. Bring back Floatopia but with bathrooms and cleanup plans!

  10. Is there a way to test for the presence of fentanyl in recreational drugs? With cannabis, spotting white powder might be difficult given the quality of buds these days. Back in the 90s, if your brick weed had white spots, it wasn’t THC crystals, you knew it was coke and you tossed it. Now, the buds are full of white crystals so it would be harder to detect visually. Maybe at large gatherings/concerts, there could be some kind of medical tent where people could have their weed checked for fentanyl? Might save some lives. For other drugs, it’s tricky since showing someone your cocaine and asking to be tested would get you in trouble. People aren’t going to stop using drugs, so maybe we can accept that and get them help to make sure they’re at least clean drugs?

    • OLDE MANN – that’s a stretch. It’s really just allowing people to advertise their parties. Nothing wrong with that in concept and nothing illegal since parties aren’t illegal. If it were advertising crack houses or speakeasies, then that would be different.
      Sadly, there’s not much that can be done to stop Deltopia or any large parties. You can’t arrest people for being in the street or for going to/throwing parties. The music cut off at 6pm was really effective though, from what I heard. I know some students who went on Saturday evening and the whole place was done partying. Just some random drunk people still milling about. Unless they completely shut down the entire town, people are still going to go party in IV.

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