ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB)- Local law enforcement and Erie County Fair Security officials will keep a close eye on fair-goers. Security officials told News 4 they’ve increased security at the gates and they’ve hired more off-duty police officers to patrol the grounds.
It’s clearly posted when you walk onto the fair grounds that you cannot bring weapons, or wear gang attire. Signs also say security can search visitors’ belongings at any time.
“Any time you have a large venue with a large number of people, last years attendance exceeded 1.2 million, you have potential for incidents and issues,” said David Gresham, the director of security at the fair.
He told News 4 there are more than 100 security guards and law enforcement officers on patrol every day. They also use security cameras to help monitor the crowds.
“There’s a good deal of security waking around, you can identify them in white shirts,” said James Raymond, of DePew.
Raymond said he brings his family to the fair every year and they feel safe, despite fights at other Western New York events this summer.
“We’ve come here three or four times a year and we’ve never seen any issues, any problems here,” said Raymond.
We asked Hamburg Police if there have been major problems in the past. They told us they received 37 calls during the 2014 fair for incidents including larceny and missing person reports. Only five people were arrested last year, according to fair security.
“People that have too good of a time, drink too much and want to engage in tumultuous and rowdy behavior, certainly make it less desirable for people that are here to enjoy themselves,” said Gresham.
Other events this summer, including the Italian Festival and Chautauqua County Fair, saw those problems.
“Well with the Italian Festival and the county events you have to recognize the situation is a little different and you have to be prepared for it,” said Robert Trusiak, camping at the fair from Buffalo.
Trusiak said he’s noticed security making a difference at the Erie County Fair.
“Couple times down there, where the rides are, there has been a couple gangs of boys years ago but they handled it,” said Trusiak.
Erie County Fair Security has a 24 hour dispatch center to allow them to respond to calls quickly. If you have a problem, you can either call security from a fair booth or call 911 and clearly state you’re at the fair.