Law enforcement: People help make fair safer - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Law enforcement: People help make fair safer

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Mississippi State Fair sprawls more than a hundred acres in downtown Jackson. Hinds County deputies walk each step through the midway, stopping to talk with parents and kids. Meanwhile, Jackson Police patrol outside the gates of the fairgrounds. 

"The fair ends Sunday and as of Monday we'll probably start planning for next year," said Hinds County Sheriff's Department Captain Joseph Daughtry. "This is a major operation. This is something you can't do in a week or two weeks time."

About five arrests have been made inside the fairgrounds for minor offenses, according to Daughtry.
He says reserve and full-time deputies are assigned to six zones. There they patrol a small area and help out where needed. 

"The definition of crime is opportunity. What we want to do is eliminate the opportunity for anyone to commit a crime," said Daughtry. 

"We've actually noticed a decrease in the amount of personal items and belongings left behind in plain view in vehicles," said JPD Deputy Chief Allen White. "So, that really helps us out."

Before the fair, deputies pushed an educational campaign, reminding fair goers to lock up their belongings and how to keep their children safe.

Daughtry says people have to help law enforcement by reporting any suspicious activity.  

"It's that partnership. We can't do it by ourselves," explained Daughtry. "We can't be everywhere all the time."

JPD says no crime has been reported to officers this fair. As of Thursday, more than 407,000 people have visited this year's state fair. With that many people in the area, law enforcement say they want to be as visible as possible. Police say the more officers people see, the less crime is committed. 

"We're running our blue lights out here to deter crime, as well as to provide a point so someone can come to the blue lights in the case they need a police officer," said White.

Neither agency would reveal an exact number of officers at the fair at any given time but did say they adjust based on crowd size. The sheriff's department and police department say they feel confident there are always enough lawn enforcement at the fair. The agencies also hold briefings to discuss the prior night's activities.

The State Fair Commission expects 700,000 people to visit the fair this year. 

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