Fair Safety Tips
The annual Redwood Empire Fair will be in full swing this Thursday through Sunday, August 4-7, and this year’s theme is, “Celebrating 80 Years of Reel Family Fun.” I encourage you to attend and would like to offer a few safety tips to help keep you and your family safe.
This weekend the fair will have first-class entertainment for everyone, including live music, motorsports contests, carnival rides and activities, agricultural and craft displays, and even a Diaper Dash for kids 12 months of age and younger (on Saturday, August 6 at 2:30 pm on the Kids Stage). You can find out more about fair events at www.redwoodempirefair.com.
Ukiah police officers will assist with traffic enforcement near the pedestrian crossings on State Street each evening to make sure everyone can get to and from the fairgrounds safely. And local law enforcement—including the Ukiah Police Department, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, the California Highway Patrol and county probation officers—will be out and about helping to keep everyone safe and making sure our fair remains a family-friendly event.
At the fair it’s important to remember how quickly a child can get lost or go missing. It’s simple to become distracted and lose sight of the little ones in your family. One minute you’re looking at that amazing funnel cake or asking how to get to the next attraction, and when you turn around, your child is gone. Locating lost or missing children is something our officers are faced with each year, and while we almost always reconnect missing children with their families, it’s important to protect kids against child abductions.
Before you go to the fair with your family, or allow your teens to attend without you, be sure to share these simple tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (www.missingkids.com).
Check with parents, guardians, or other trusted adults before going anywhere, helping anyone, accepting anything or getting into a car.
Don’t just wander away. Tell someone if you are leaving the group.
Say “NO!” if anyone tries to touch or hurt you. It’s important to stand up for yourself.
What most people don’t realize about child abduction and exploitation is that the majority of cases involve an adult who is familiar to the child—not a stranger!
In general, we encourage children to be helpful and to respect authority (which is often represented by adults), so when a kidnapper asks a child to comply with a request—especially an adult the child knows—the child often feels compelled to do so. This is especially true if the kidnapper knows the family and tells the child something has happened to a family member.
We also tell children they should stay quiet and behave appropriately, but parents need to be clear with their children that if they feel they are in danger, they should break the rules. In fact, they should be as loud as possible, making a huge, obnoxious scene and screaming for help to get people’s attention. Have them practice once or twice screaming at the top of their lungs, “Help! This person is trying to take me!” Explain to children that this is the rare time it is okay to go completely crazy in public.
In addition to these recommendations, here are some general tips kids (especially teens) should follow to stay safe if spending time without adult supervision at the fair:
Don’t talk to strangers.
Be aware of your surroundings—don’t focus on your cell phone.
Stick together; there’s safety in numbers.
Practice basic self-defense. A swift kick to the shins and a loud scream draws attention.
Our Redwood Empire Fair is an annual treasure for our community and I hope everyone gets an opportunity to attend. Remembering these safety tips can help keep the fair safe and fun for your entire family.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.
By: Chris Dewey - Chief of Police