Police Talk about Safety at the Fair
Fight at the Date Festival caught on camera Video by kmir6.comvideo
Thousands of people visit the Riverside County Fair and Date Festival every day.
And violence between fair goers - like what we caught on tape Monday night - is a major concern for some.
A fight with about eight people suddenly broke out right in front of us.
A young man falls to the ground, before he can get up another guy runs up and kicks him in the face, and then another trys to kick him again.
Some people say fights like this are not rare at the fair.
"Over the weekend there have been a couple fights, I know because I personally told by my siblings," said Palm Desert resident, Gregorio Acosta, Jr.
The event supervisor, Sgt. David Walton, says the fair has been pretty quiet this year.
"We're not seeing a high level of gang activity coming into the fair or people that are indicative of gang attire or gang signs as in years maybe past, what we are seeing is that we have some juveniles, they get in here and they start to maybe bring high school rivalry in and things like that," said Sgt. Walton.
The Riverside County Sheriff's Department has a command post on the fairgrounds, as well as the crime analyst bureau.
"For intelligence gathering, risk assessment for gang activity, I also have a contingent of officers, bike patrols, so on a typical day you'll have 30 sheriff's deputies in the fair grounds," said Sgt. Walton.
But some fairgoers say they still need more officers.
"I think there's probably about a thousand people for each one of those cops," said Julie and Arnold Hernandez, Moreno Valley residents.
But the Hernandez family says they still feel safe at the festival.
"I think it's overall pretty safe, just stay with your kids, and make sure you know where they're at and what they're doing," said Julie Hernandez.
Ray and Linda Hoolahan, Canadian residents who live part-time in the desert said, "We came this morning actually and we felt safe all day, its been very good. It's been pretty quiet today too."
Other people said daytime is definitely the better time to go.
"Security needs to be a little more strict, because there is rivalry, there is you know gang violence in this area," said Acosta.
The young man in the video walked away, and officers say no assault victims have come to them.
Sgt. Walton also said they kicked 20 people out of the fair for violations so far.
Only one person was arrested for an outstanding warrant.