State Fair final crime numbers relatively small

The 2013 North Dakota State Fair saw 320,485 attendees, according to the final numbers made available by State Fair administrators. Despite the record attendance, only 330 incidents were responded to by the Ward County Sheriff’s Department, which provided security throughout the event.

The vast majority of those were not crimes.

The only crimes that could be considered at all violent were 51 disorderly conduct incidents, which Sheriff Steve Kukowski said were often minor pushing and shoving problems or people arguing after someone may have cut in line for one of the rides or events. There were also 28 liquor violations, which Kukowski said was often an older person in a relationship buying a beer for their younger boyfriend or girlfriend.

The most calls in the breakdown came to 74 people reporting that they had found lost property and 21 people reporting that they had lost property. Another 49 calls were for assistance in locating missing people. All missing people were located, Kukowski said, and the vast majority of those calls were for children who had become separated temporarily from their parents.

There were 24 calls for assistance, such as people trying to find their car or needing help to find their way out of the fairgrounds, and 20 ambulance calls.

The remaining 63 calls were miscellaneous incidents, such as a couple runaways, bike and other minor thefts, suspicious persons, impounded cars, and others.

“People called us and had us inspect some of the rides,” Kukowski said of other calls received. “You know, they thought the rides were going a little too fast and we went with the fair safety personnel and looked at them and there was no problem.”

“All in all, a very safe fair, we’re happy with the way things went,” Kukowski said of his opinion on the security of the fair. “Staff’s a little tired. It will take them a couple of days to recoup after spending their regular shift and then a shift out there.”

He added that some inmates in the Ward County Jail volunteered to help out with cleanup and “get it ready for the next event.” He said that the inmates have all served at least two-thirds of their sentences and are non-violent offenders and unlikely to repeat their crimes.

“It’s a state fair, it’s of benefit to the community and state and it relieves some of the expense if they go out there and pick up some paper,” he added. “Plus, it gets them out of the correctional facility and out into the fresh air. They come back tired and there are less problems inside.”