Hamilton police are raising concerns at an emerging trend of increased reports of aggressive behaviour among youth at community fairs and festivals.
Officers say that there has been a concerning uptick in the number of teen-related robberies and incidents at local festivals and fairs over the summer.
The first reported incident occurred at an unknown location just before 10:30 p.m. on August 4 when a group of teens resorted to “physical violence” to rob a young male of his cross-body bag. A 15-year-old boy has been arrested in connection to the robbery.
At the Winona Peach Festival on August 26, reports came in from multiple parents concerned about children being victimized by other youths and additional physical alterations among teens that occurred throughout the festival.
A third incident was reported at the Binbrook Fair on Sept. 16 around 7:15 p.m. when a physical altercation occurred between two young girls. Police say over 50 bystanders actively encouraged the incident as they stood by filming.
With the 172nd Ancaster Fair kicking off this weekend and the Rockton Fair next month, police issued a statement “not to discourage attendance at these cherished community events, but to enhance safety and security.”
Organizers say that thus far, they have not had any incidents reported.
“We’ve certainly not experienced any incidents of violence, but we do have a good security force here and we’ve got great support from the Hamilton police and they patrol the grounds during the day and the evening.”
Parents attending the fair on Saturday expressed concerns about the incidents.
Teens themselves say though they aren’t surprised about the increase, they don’t have concerns about safety.
One of the teens who worked the event said, “Even at night like it’s very well lit. There’s a lot of security. We were working the ticket booth yesterday and there are bag checks like there’s a lot of stuff going on, which is good. So it makes me feel definitely reassured.”
Police say that in the wake of the increase in incidents, they advise that attendees avoid displaying valuable goods, travel in groups, and stay vigilant.
Anyone with information that could aid in the ongoing investigations is asked to contact officers at 905-546-4725.