Officers keeping an eye on fairgoers as night falls at the Big Fresno Fair

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After a day's worth of fun at the fair, surrounded by officers and tight security, the walk back in darkness is a lot less crowded and supervised. (KFSN)

Dozens of officers kept a watchful eye on opening day of the Big Fresno Fair. While the fairgrounds was brimming with security Fresno police said they are just as concerned about safety outside too.

After a day's worth of fun at the fair, surrounded by officers and tight security, the walk back in darkness is a lot less crowded and supervised.

"It's only once in a long time you see a patrol go by," said Xia Vu, Fresno resident.

Every year, Fresno police officers receive reports of break-ins and car thefts outside the fairgrounds. Vu and his family have had bad experiences before, which is why they paid close attention this year to where they parked.

"There's more people out in the fields and soforth, so it feels a little bit safer, but on the side streets it doesn't feel as safe for our property."

Fresno police said they have about 60 officers inside and outside the fair and they adjust their strategy year to year. This time, in addition to having patrol and traffic officers near the perimeters a special response team also monitors Kings Canyon Road.

"We want to try to stop any problems before they come to the fair. We want to send out a clear message that if you're bringing trouble, we don't want you anywhere in this area," said Sgt. Dave Gibeault, Fresno Police Dept.

Video surveillance continues to be a powerful tool for officers too. From eyes up in the air to traffic cameras on the ground the views keep officers inside aware of the outside.

"When people get released in large groups we want to be able to see what's going on and if there are any problems out there. We are trying to use this technology to our advantage," said Gibeault.

Families said knowing those tactics are in use is comforting but they also believe it is their job when outside the fairgrounds to avoide creating crimes of opportunity.

"You want to make sure your car is locked and all your valuables are tucked underneath," said June Debacker, Fresno resident.

Officers said the purpose of the new special response team is to keep a watch on the neighborhood when patrol officers are tied up handling a call.
Related Topics:
societysafetybig fresno fairfresnoFresno - Southeast
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