SAN JOSE (KPIX) – The Bay Area summer festival season is in full swing, and in the wake of the Gilroy mass shooting, security is a major concern.
“We may need some more police officers, just to assuage people’s fears,” said Jeff Whitnack, who was in San Jose a day early for the Santa Clara County Fair.
The fair opens on Thursday.
When asked about festival security after Gilroy, Whitnack put tragedy in a larger context of American mass shootings.
“It’s everywhere. Churches, malls, events, schools, everywhere,” he said.
Another big event coming up is the Fremont Arts and Wine Festival. The 2-day event opens on Saturday.
“I’ll attend the festival,” said Ashok Warey. “Not worried. I knew you were asking about the Gilroy event. It’s a random event.”
Fremont festival organizers said security for this kind of threat is something they have worked on for years and they are confident in the job performed by local law enforcement.
KPIX reached out to the Fremont Police Department, but they did not return the station’s calls.
The Gilroy Garlic Festival had what was considered to be strong security, fencing patrolled by armed guards.
“We don’t want to live our life in fear. There’s only so much we can do,” says KPIX 5 security expert Jeff Harp. He adds that even with significant security, acting quickly, there will always be some risk.
As America has faced a rolling sequence of mass shootings, festival organizers keep finding themselves coming back to the questions. How much security are people prepared to live with?
“We’re not going to lock down this country in a manner where we’ve got armed guards at every single entrance and militaristic style perimeter setup,” Harp says.
There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the opening of the Santa Clara County Fair on Thursday.
The Sheriff’s Department is expected to be on hand to answer questions about what additional security measures might be put in place.