The number of felony arrests related to Fiesta 2019 rose by nearly 80 percent from 2018, with 36 made from July 31 to Aug. 4, according to data released by the Santa Barbara Police Department on Monday.
Thursday proved to be an active day for officers, with 23 of the 36 felony arrests occurring on the second day of the festival.
Misdemeanor arrests rose slightly (77 in 2019; 73 in 2018), while DUI arrests went down (4 in 2019; 9 in 2018).
“We are happy to report that there were minimal incidents that involved injury,” said Anthony Wagner, the Police Department’s public engagement manager. “It was a safe and successful Fiesta.”
Part of the increase in arrests was a result of joint operations that police participated in, with one Santa Barbara officer paired with three others from different agencies as they swept the area to check into probation violations.
“It is our largest event of the year, and there are so many more eyes are on all of Santa Barbara to where you’re not going to get away with much,” Mr. Wagner said. “We had a lot of eyes out in the community keeping the peace.”
In addition to the arrests, the Police Department handed out 45 traffic citations (one less than 2018) and 96 parking citations (10 more than 2018). One police cruiser was sideswiped while parked, but the driver stopped and delivered insurance information with no incident.
The five-day festival also proved costly for the department, with 2,398 self-reported total hours worked, including 1,454 as self-reported overtime. That’s a sharp increase from 2018, when 1,994.5 were worked overall, with 1,253 considered overtime. This came after the calls for service went down year over year, with 104 in 2019 and 111 in 2018. SBPD assists also went down from 147 to 110.
Mr. Wagner said fewer hours were worked in 2018 due to three prominent criminal cases in the area that caused detectives to be called off Fiesta duty, which was not the case this year.