For the second year in a row, arrests dropped during the first weekend of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, with police announcing Wednesday that 99 people were arrested during the fest’s opening weekend.
Of the 99 people taken into custody — out of more than 120,000 festival attendees — roughly 90% were arrested for drug- or alcohol-related reasons, according to Indio police. Six people were arrested for false identification and three for possession of drugs for sale. Three of the arrests were categorized as “other.”
The number of arrests was down 7 percent from last year, when 106 arrests were made during the first weekend of Coachella. In 2016 and 2017, arrests hovered around 126 on average with 128 during the same weekend.
The drops coincide with recent law-enforcement changes at the festival, including the use of drones to monitor crowds and traffic conditions. Indio police spokesman Ben Guitron said those tools — along with an online reporting system that diverted many festivalgoers’ lost-and-found inquiries away from the emergency lines — helped law enforcement better prioritize their time and resources.
Additionally, long-standing relationships with Goldenvoice, the organizer of the festival, also enabled more proactive security efforts.
But he also credited “positive growth and positive people,” saying attendees generally seem to be making better choices.