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Fair sees fewer problems with crime, safety
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As the Stanislaus County Fair moves toward the final days of their 10-day run, law enforcement officials are reporting a sizeable decrease in the number of crimes reported and arrests. “We’ve been very, very fortunate this year in that we are seeing less altercations and less problems even though the attendance numbers have been about the same,” said Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Radford, who oversees the sheriff department’s presence at the fairgrounds. “It’s truly been a collaborative effort and everyone has been working very hard to keep it a family-oriented event.” The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department maintains the law inside the fairgrounds while the Turlock Police Department patrols the outside surrounding area. In addition, two private security firms are used for policing the main beer garden and at the Budweiser Variety Free Stage for the various performers. “The partnerships we have formed with law enforcement have been really wonderful,” said fair spokesperson Adrenna Alkhas. “Everyone is on guard and if there is a problem, they are right on top of it. We are very pleased with the results.” Equally pleased with the results is the Turlock Police Department, which reported a “remarkably low number of incidences,” said Turlock Police Lt. Jeff Lopes. In years past the fair has been a magnet for some criminal activity, including auto thefts and burglaries, fights, and drunk driving. Radford said the sheriff’s department has seen very few fights thus far at the fair and have made just two arrests, both of which were for being drunk in public. Lopes said the Turlock Police Department has had to respond to only four fights reported in the areas surrounding the fairgrounds and have taken just one report for a stolen vehicle. “We had a few others report their vehicles as stolen, but it turned out they just forgot where they parked,” Lopes said. There have also been fewer arrests of people driving under the influence, Lopes said. “It’s not a case that there are fewer officers available to take reports,” Lopes said. “We have the same amount of staff as last year. It’s just been a mild and smooth run.” Over the course of the last few years the Stanislaus County Fair has implemented a few changes that both Radford and Alkhas agree have had an effect on the overall security at the fair. A policy instituted last year and continued this year is the cessation of alcohol sales at 10 p.m. Also, the addition of the park and ride program has lessened the number of vehicles parked around the edges of the fairgrounds, which were more vulnerable to break-ins and thefts. Even the general lay-out of the fair is helping curb crime, Radford said.“The fair board has done a fantastic job of bringing in activities that keep people busy and spread out,” he said.To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.