Rick Callahan, AP, Aug. 10, 2006
Police boosted security in and around the state fairgrounds to help ensure that the Indiana State Fair isn’t marred by the sort of violence that’s left 13 people in the city dead in recent days.
Thousands of out-of-town visitors began converging on the 250-acre fairgrounds Wednesday for the 150th fair. The site is surrounded by troubled lower-income neighborhoods, including one six blocks away where a teenage boy was shot to death Monday.
About 300 officers or security guards will be posted at the fair during its 12-day run, including about 130 state troopers, 40 state conservation officers and some 50 private security guards, said fair spokesman Andy Klotz.
Even before the rash of killings stunned the city of about 863,000, Indiana’s capital already was on track for its bloodiest year since 1998, when 162 people died. So far this year, 94 people have been slain in Indianapolis.
Nan Johnson, who lives in Lebanon just northwest of Indianapolis, went to the fair with her sister and three nieces. She said she’s been attending for years and has never felt unsafe — but is uneasy about the neighborhoods surrounding the fairgrounds.
“Once you’re on the grounds you’re fine, but it’s not in a real safe neighborhood. I wouldn’t be out here at nighttime,” she said, gesturing to the gas station where she had stopped.