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Quiet Halloween in Isla Vista thanks to patrols, social media, rain

Quiet Halloween in Isla Vista thanks to patrols, social media, rain
Pedestrians pass a Halloween costume store last week in Isla Vista. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Halloween in Isla Vista was relatively quiet over the weekend with fewer than 80 people jailed or cited for violations because of a stepped-up law enforcement presence, an anti-partying social media campaign and the first rainstorm of the season.

Officials had been prepared for the worst after a string of violent incidents earlier this year in the college town next to UC Santa Barbara, including a sexual assault, a riot during the Deltopia spring break party, and a stabbing and shooting rampage by Elliot Rodger, who killed six UCSB students and himself.

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But only a "few thousand" people, mostly locals, showed up each night to attend parties in the neighborhood, said Kelly Hoover, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

Because of the smaller crowd size, "large numbers" of officers were released early on Friday and Saturday nights. Although exact numbers weren't yet available, fewer than 40 people were jailed and fewer than 40 received citations over the two-day period, Hoover said.

During last year's Halloween, which was counted as a three-day event, more than 200 people were jailed and nearly 250 cited.

"The sheriff's office thanks the students of UCSB and Santa Barbara City College for their cooperation and good behavior, and for not inviting large numbers of out-of-town guests to attend," Hoover said.

Links to a social media campaign warning students to stay away from Isla Vista or face prosecution if there were trouble had been sent to 120 campuses across California and the West.

"Halloween 2014 is going to be nothing like years' past guys. Nothing," said a post on the Keep Isla Vista Safe Facebook page, accompanied by the hashtags #turnupfornothing and #ivhalloween.

Public service announcements warning that "one moment can change your life" are running on local TV and radio stations, including a spot featuring Bob Weiss, the father of UCSB student Veronika Weiss, who was fatally shot outside a sorority house in Rodger's May rampage.

The sheriff's department brought in extra deputies and the UCSB Police Department borrowed 75 officers from other campuses.

The Santa Barbara County district attorney's office had pledged to prosecute Halloween offenders swiftly and to inform other campuses if any of their students were cited or arrested, as well as the parents.

The campus had hosted a concert Halloween night for students only to give them an alternative to Isla Vista.

For Central California news, follow @amcovarrubias.

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