Local News

Playing it Safe at the State Fair

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RALEIGH — You're caught up in the excitement of the fair, when suddenly you realize your wallet is gone. It can happen easily when you're surrounded by all the rides, games and food luring your attention away. But you don't have to be a victim.

The State Fair will make you dizzy with excitement. But with all the food and fun, you're probably not thinking about crime.

The police presence certainly is here, but officers can't be everywhere. They say you're most vulnerable in the parking lot.

"I would be concerned about damage to their vehicle and possibly a car break-in where the car is forcibly entered and items are stolen that are in plain view," says Chief Matt Cleary of the State Fairgrounds Police.

Chief Cleary is a seven-year fair veteran who says despite all the money changing hands, pick pockets and purse snatchers are rare.

"We have the presence of a lot of uniformed officers out here either on duty or off duty," says Cleary. "So I think probably the uniform is a deterrent and they're all over the fairgrounds."

Officers patrol on four wheels and on foot. An average of 120 uniformed officers and 30 non-uniformed officers are located on the grounds daily during the fair.

So far, crime is down compared to last year. Even so, many folks don't want to press their luck.

"[I] lock the car, leave the purse at home and keep my wallet in back hidden under the baby," says fairgoer Bill Moran.

Sound advice from seasoned fair folks who know how to have fun and stay safe.

Officers patrol the parking lots at the fair, but it does not keep all criminals away. Car break-ins are common. Remember to lock your cars and keep all valuables stashed away in the trunk. Reporter: Betsy Sykes