State Fair

For first time in a decade, California State Fair reports no arrests on opening weekend

The Cal Expo Police Department says that for the first time in a decade, officers made no arrests during the opening three-day weekend at the California State Fair.

The department, as well as allied law enforcement agencies on-site, reported zero arrests for the first three days of the State Fair for the first time since 2009, Cal Expo said in a news release Monday.

No major injuries were reported over the weekend either, the news release said.

Crime and reports of violence have loomed over the fair for most of the past decade, with an average of 66 arrests made each year between 2009 and 2017 at the 2 1/2-week fair. In 2010, a total of 93 arrests were made; in 2008, 10 arrests were made on opening day alone.

Last year, only 12 arrests were reported.

Cal Expo Police Chief Joe Robillard recently told The Bee that a series of new initiatives, including de-escalation techniques and calmer approaches by officers handling unruly conduct, have played a role in limiting arrests.

Monday’s news release adds that additional officers are on patrol this year.

“We are working hard to make this the safest State Fair yet,” Robillard said in Cal Expo’s statement. “... We have broken a 10-year record in an exciting way!”

Cal Expo reported that approximately 100,000 people attended the State Fair from Friday through Sunday, with the news release calling the weekend a “roaring success.” Attendance in 2018 hit a 20-year low, reported at 572,250 over 17 days.

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.