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Safety measures: false sense of security or not?


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I thought this is interesting enough for this separate thread.

 

As far as I aware of the majority of US parks have put in place a variety of security measures, with at least Disney going all the way: metal detectors at the entrance, bag checks & pat downs when in doubt. Let's leave metal detectors at the rides out of this as they serve another purpose (for those are too stupid to oblige to park rules). Now, what I am wondering, do you think is really makes a different? Does it make visiting any park at all safer? Or is it just a false sense of safety?

 

I know the big names as CP, Universal and Disney are very interesting for those idiots who are willing to harm people. However, will it actually prevent anything? F.e. in Paris there are checks before entering the main plaza in front of the parks. The do check your bags (kinda) and do random full scans. However if I wanted to something bad I might as well could do it in the long line at the checkpoint... When leaving the park all guests are separated from the publicly accessible area by one fence. It comes down to if you want to do bad...

 

Security also depends on what part of the world you are in. Robb & Elissa have been to almost every continent, maybe they know how it is in Asia and South America? I know the UAE-parks don't have any visible security measures and most of the European parks either. Efteling, with about 5M visitors, already informed the public that are not planning on increasing security to a visible state at the gates.

 

I know we are not specialists, but I am wondering what you all think and how it is in different parts of the world. Does it make any difference or not?

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To me I have no problem with metal detectors at the front of the parks, I actually think universal has the best setup and I've found it to be the quickest. Sure something bad can still happen if people really want to make it happen but I don't see anything wrong with trying to prevent knives and other preventable items into the parks.

 

I had actually just posted this in the Busch Gardens Williamsburg thread but I was surprised going in there because there were no security checks whatsoever unless you had a bag. I'm actually more surprised when parks don't check especially just in case something does happen they look bad for not having measures already in place.

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Most of the complaints come from entitled enthusiasts who can't bare to wait an extra five minutes to get into a park. Then they cite terrorism and how if someone wants to harm people, they will, completely disregarding that preventative measures could prevent an attack or even just slow it down enough in time to figure something out.

 

Everyone keeps saying metal detectors are there to stop terrorism and won't do anything... But has anyone considered that threats to safety don't always come from potential terrorists, but just stupid drunk idiots who pull a pocket knife after being told a ride is closed? Or those people that feel the need to bring a gun every where they go (LOL) and it accidentally discharges, be it on a ride, in a queue line, wherever? Do people even consider these threats? People bring all sorts of crap to parks that they shouldn't be. There are incidents that happen at parks that don't make the news or social media. So just because no one has committed a terrorist attack at an amusement park doesn't mean there haven't been preventable incidents in the past that you never knew about. I believe that one less asshole with a knife at an amusement park, the better! Leave it at home.

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I firmly believe the inside the box security measures are mostly techniques for parks to help cover their as$es from a liability standpoint, when and if anything happens. Yes, these devices prevent a very specific certain kind of danger, but if someone wants to harm someone at a park, or immediately outside, they will.

 

The fixed metal detectors are an improvement over relying on wanding devices. Here's a perfect example:

 

Several years ago I was on my into a St. Louis Blues hockey game, while legally and safely carrying a small concealed firearm in my left cargo pocket. I stepped forward to the security gentleman and before I could even reach for my credentials or begin to disclose my firearm, he quickly swept over me with the wand and grabbed a hold of a bulge in my right cargo pocket, where my wallet had been located. He asked me what was in my pocket and I told him it was just my wallet. I opened my mouth to say that I was also legally carrying a firearm as I reached for my wallet to retrieve my credentials, and before I could even get a word out he moved me along and instructed the next person to step forward.

 

I'm not trying to criticize the operations. As with any security checkpoint, it was chaos. The ironic thing is that throughout the years I've had several friends at Blues games who had to run back to the cars to return their 3" pocket knives, but I got let into the game carrying my firearm. The point is that nothing is fail safe.

 

These metal detectors aren't a bad idea, but they're put in place much more to protect the companies from liability than they are to protect you from serious safety risks. The implied safety is just as much part of the illusion as the scenery. Plan for the extra time it will take to get into the gates and try to accept the fact that this isn't going away.

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I enjoy the improved security at parks. It's never taken me more than 5 minutes to get through, and it hasn't bothered me once. After working at a HAUNT event for the last two seasons, it's almost astonishing what guests try to take into the park. Last year, a drunk guy tried to bring in (no joke) a dagger into the park. I already get punched and slapped enough by drunk people. I'm not sacrificing myself to a f***ing dagger for $8 an hour.

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I firmly believe the inside the box security measures are mostly techniques for parks to help cover their as$es from a liability standpoint, when and if anything happens. Yes, these devices prevent a very specific certain kind of danger, but if someone wants to harm someone at a park, or immediately outside, they will.

 

The fixed metal detectors are an improvement over relying on wanding devices. Here's a perfect example:

 

Several years ago I was on my into a St. Louis Blues hockey game, while legally and safely carrying a small concealed firearm in my left cargo pocket. I stepped forward to the security gentleman and before I could even reach for my credentials or begin to disclose my firearm, he quickly swept over me with the wand and grabbed a hold of a bulge in my right cargo pocket, where my wallet had been located. He asked me what was in my pocket and I told him it was just my wallet. I opened my mouth to say that I was also legally carrying a firearm as I reached for my wallet to retrieve my credentials, and before I could even get a word out he moved me along and instructed the next person to step forward.

 

I'm not trying to criticize the operations. As with any security checkpoint, it was chaos. The ironic thing is that throughout the years I've had several friends at Blues games who had to run back to the cars to return their 3" pocket knives, but I got let into the game carrying my firearm. The point is that nothing is fail safe.

 

These metal detectors aren't a bad idea, but they're put in place much more to protect the companies from liability than they are to protect you from serious safety risks. The implied safety is just as much part of the illusion as the scenery. Plan for the extra time it will take to get into the gates and try to accept the fact that this isn't going away.

I agree with this 100%. You could put in guard towers, a barbed wire fence, and a giant dome around your park and it isn't guaranteed to protect your park from everything. As for the lines, I have never personally waited in a security line for more than five minutes (even at Disney), and as long as they have enough stations open and staffed (looking at you, Six Flags) and keep things moving then it's not really that big of an issue.

I enjoy the improved security at parks. It's never taken me more than 5 minutes to get through, and it hasn't bothered me once. After working at a HAUNT event for the last two seasons, it's almost astonishing what guests try to take into the park. Last year, a drunk guy tried to bring in (no joke) a dagger into the park. I already get punched and slapped enough by drunk people. I'm not sacrificing myself to a f***ing dagger for $8 an hour.

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Most of the complaints come from entitled enthusiasts who can't bare to wait an extra five minutes to get into a park. Then they cite terrorism and how if someone wants to harm people, they will, completely disregarding that preventative measures could prevent an attack or even just slow it down enough in time to figure something out.

 

I totally disagree with this.

 

Last weekend at kings island for example, the security lines were long and I heard 99% of the bit$*ing from family's and non enthusiasts. Actually, as a coaster nerd like myself, I have come accustomed to the security lines at theme parks. Do I like them?...No. Do I whine about them myself...Yes(and so does just about everyone else). But it has nothing to do with being a coaster nerd or feeling entitled, but more to do with the whole inconvenience of it all. I groan about them at locations that use them that are not amusement parks as well. I think your reaching here.

 

With that being said, I understand that they are a necessary evil, and are probably here to stay for a while. Still does not mean I have to like them.

 

I like how Disney has just recently changed the security checkpoints. If you are staying at a monorail resort, they check you before you get onto the monorail to the park. When you arrive at the park, you can go directly to the turnstyles. I believe they are also checking you before you get onto the monorail or ferry from the parking lot as well. This has really helped, and made the process much faster and less agitating. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the only people being checked anymore at the main gate is bus passengers. The boats from the resorts also have there own checkpoints when you get off the boats.

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With that being said, I understand that they are a necessary evil, and are probably here to stay for a while. Still does not mean I have to like them.

 

Are they necessary? How come 99% of major European parks haven't implied those measures? Or perhaps it is a cultural thing:

 

I firmly believe the inside the box security measures are mostly techniques for parks to help cover their as$es from a liability standpoint, when and if anything happens. Yes, these devices prevent a very specific certain kind of danger, but if someone wants to harm someone at a park, or immediately outside, they will.

 

I don't know if it really is true that you get sued a lot faster in the US than in Europe, however if so that could be the main reason for parks to do this.

 

I don't have anything against it, however it is a shame the world in in such a state parks feel it is necessary. I know there are a lot of crazy people out there, not only terrorists. I do like the fact that I can walk up to the gate at Efteling without any checks, if feels a bit more relaxed.

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I have nothing to hide so I have no problem with security, never experienced an abnormal wait for security anywhere, then again, I don't fly so that isn't an issue. I would be curious to hear from frequent park goers and those that have worked park security if they are allowed to speak about this matter, has anyone actually stopped something bad from happening at a park through walk through park security?

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Most of the complaints come from entitled enthusiasts who can't bare to wait an extra five minutes to get into a park.

 

People love the term "entitled". Mind you, Cedar Point has never had permanent metal detectors in front of it ever. Cedar Fair got rid of them at Kings Island years ago. Most non-corporate parks hadn't had them, and many still don't. The big Orlando parks just began to use them in the last year. Metal detectors are personal searches, and until very recently, searches of this nature were not normative anywhere, certainly not every imaginable public venue.

 

I get the response: "The world is different." Last week, I was at a cemetery where the bodies of kids lie from a terrorist suicide bombing at an elementary school committed that killed 45 people, most of whom were young children. The bombing was in America. The year was 1927. In reality, homicide is near 50 year lows and less than half of what it was in the early 1990s. What's different is people are constantly bombarded with horrors because horrors get eyeballs and eyeballs get advertisers. In other words, you're demanding I (and everyone else) be searched to deal with a concern that is basically in people's imaginations.

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With that being said, I understand that they are a necessary evil, and are probably here to stay for a while. Still does not mean I have to like them.

 

Are they necessary? How come 99% of major European parks haven't implied those measures? Or perhaps it is a cultural thing:

 

Yet.....

Places that handle a lot of people are adding them now, more than ever. Besides that, you have no idea of any specific threats that could have been made to amusement parks in this country or another. If there was a threat against a park and they did nothing, you better believe that they are going to be put in a bad light for not taking any preventative measures regardless what country it happens in.

 

Unfortunately, it IS the world we live in today....not just this country.

 

Canada......http://www.torontosun.com/2014/10/26/man-dies-after-double-stabbing-at-canadas-wonderland

U.K..........http://riderater.co.uk/4373/man-charged-over-alton-towers-knife-attack/

 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/aug/27/blackpool-beach-bomb-threat-hoax

 

Tokyo.......http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/08/21/national/crime-legal/eight-women-slashed-suspected-knife-attack-tokyo-amusement-park-pool/

 

These are just a few reasons why parks are adding more security/ metal detectors.

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Most of the complaints come from entitled enthusiasts who can't bare to wait an extra five minutes to get into a park.

 

People love the term "entitled". Mind you, Cedar Point has never had permanent metal detectors in front of it ever. Cedar Fair got rid of them at Kings Island years ago. Most non-corporate parks hadn't had them, and many still don't. The big Orlando parks just began to use them in the last year. Metal detectors are personal searches, and until very recently, searches of this nature were not normative anywhere, certainly not every imaginable public venue.

 

I get the response: "The world is different." Last week, I was at a cemetery where the bodies of kids lie from a terrorist suicide bombing at an elementary school committed that killed 45 people, most of whom were young children. The bombing was in America. The year was 1927. In reality, homicide is near 50 year lows and less than half of what it was in the early 1990s. What's different is people are constantly bombarded with horrors because horrors get eyeballs and eyeballs get advertisers. In other words, you're demanding I (and everyone else) be searched to deal with a concern that is basically in people's imaginations.

 

Kings islands metal detectors have returned.

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Some parks need these extra security measures.

 

SFMM was plagued by gang activity back in the '90s; it was known as Six Stabs Tragic Mountain by the locals, since six people were stabbed at an all-night party. The park stepped up their security with metal detectors, and the park is much more pleasant now.

 

But at other parks that don't have this problem, I really don't see the point in installing metal detectors, other than as a CYA move.

 

Kings islands metal detectors have returned.

I believe this was a chain-wide move. Knott's Berry Farm just received metal detectors earlier this year, and there's a firestorm in the Cedar Point thread about new metal detectors.

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A short funny story about kings islands security.

 

About 8-10 years ago we went to kings island and had to go thru the security and metal detectors. They stopped me because I had a laser pointer(used to tease my cat) on my key chain, and informed me that I could not bring it into the park. So I returned it to my car.

 

Later that day after exiting the motion theater, I passed thru an arcade and what did I see? A claw machine that had laser pointers as prizes.If anything, it made for a good laugh.

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A short funny story about kings islands security.

 

About 8-10 years ago we went to kings island and had to go thru the security and metal detectors. They stopped me because I had a laser pointer(used to tease my cat) on my key chain, and informed me that I could not bring it into the park. So I returned it to my car.

 

Later that day after exiting the motion theater, I passed thru an arcade and what did I see? A claw machine that had laser pointers as prizes.If anything, it made for a good laugh.

Nobody ever wins those games, though, so there was no "danger" there.

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Kings islands metal detectors have returned.

 

Yes, I know. They left in the post 9/11 era and now they've returned. So were Cedar Fair management incompetent when they ditched them or something? Did the world change significantly in the last 5-6 years to merit their return? Or is it neither? I'm guessing "neither".

 

Magic Mountain being safer because of security is another example of this same sort of thought process. The first thing anyone who's taken a statistics course knows is that correlation does not always equal causation. The murder, robbery, and assault rates in Los Angeles have each decreased by over 50% since 2001 and the gaps are even larger compared to the 1990s. The reasons for this drop vary from mass incarceration, acculturation, economic development, and even decreases in lead exposure. It may be that the cost of entering the park is deterring enough to prevent the increasingly small pool of violent criminals from entering it with the desire or willingness to do harm to others more than the posting of a guard out front with a wand.

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Kings islands metal detectors have returned.

 

Yes, I know. They left in the post 9/11 era and now they've returned. So were Cedar Fair management incompetent when they ditched them or something? Did the world change significantly in the last 5-6 years to merit their return? Or is it neither? I'm guessing "neither".

 

 

Again...you don't know if there were any specific threats to cedar fair parks. It could also be that they are being pro active. Either way, I'm sure they are not just adding them because they think it will "fun" to do so. I could only imagine that the cost's involved in the staff and equipment are not cheap.

 

And yes...the world HAS changed since 911. Just watch the news. Stabbings, multiple shootings, mental issues, hate crimes, terrorism, and people being killed for no reason. This stuff has always happened, but not at the escalated levels like it is today. And it's not just this country. Look at Paris for example.

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And yes...the world HAS changed since 911. Just watch the news. Stabbings, multiple shootings, mental issues, hate crimes, terrorism, and people being killed for no reason. This stuff has always happened, but not at the escalated levels like it is today. And it's not just this country. Look at Paris for example.

 

No. No, it hasn't. News literally sells you nothing but carnage because they know it will get your attention. Look at the actual statistics published by Federal and State governments. There are real numbers being compiled which are exceedingly clear. You are safer now than at almost any other time in human history.

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Canada......http://www.torontosun.com/2014/10/26/man-dies-after-double-stabbing-at-canadas-wonderland

U.K..........http://riderater.co.uk/4373/man-charged-over-alton-towers-knife-attack/

 

Like many of the documented stabbings/shootings at parks these occurred in the parking lot, where metal detectors would not have prevented these incidents.

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This is an interesting question. By the way I have been lurking on TPR for some time and decided this was as good a time as any to sign up.

 

Regarding certain security measures, like metal detectors and back pack checks, a lot of it is simply deterrence. Someone who really really wants to do bad things will always find a way and you can never ever stop them. But most bad things are perpetrated on a whim, crimes of passion if you will, by people who don't go out planning mayhem.

 

For example, I work for an online Amazon retailer here in the Pacific Northwest. We have certain security measures in place that honestly don't do much at all to stop theft but do act as deterrents to theft. First off we are given a cloth mesh bag to carry our lunch in. Lunch must be in a zip lock bag or clear Tupperware type container. No backpacks, hot-cold lunch sacks, personal dishes or utensils, not even books to read on break. We have a fridge, microwaves, dishes, utensils, coffee, tea, and condiments in the break room. Any food brought in must be eaten that day or left in the fridge with your name on. It can never leave the building again. This is to make sure we aren't stealing food but does it really work? We can bring in all the pre-packaged food that we want but we sell pre-packaged food so someone that really wanted to could just steal it and eat it at work. But the average employee is deterred.

 

As for security when we first come into the warehouse we have to remove our keys and phones and turn our pockets inside out. Sunglasses and wallets and any other personal items must be left in our cars. Then we are wanded in. When entering this is be sure no one is bringing weapons and hurt others. But does it really work? We have things like box cutters and scissors in the warehouse. Someone really determined could do a lot of damage but the average employee is deterred. Then when leaving the wanding is to be sure no one is stealing. But does it really work? 99.9% of the items we sell small enough to smuggle on our person aren't metal, and those that are metal are super cheap. Also they don't check our back pockets. They let us hold our keys and phones in our hands so theoretically we could hide something in all that. Or down our underwear. In our shoes. Someone determined will find a way. But for the average employee it acts to deter. It's psychological. Just the idea that it might maybe detect something. I think it's the same at parks. It's a deterrent against he casual bad person and makes people feel safer.

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So, I find this discussion interesting since Worlds of Fun's new entrance includes permanent metal detectors. I worked at WoF back in 2014 and I'm actually surprised it took them this long to put in metal detectors.... My co-workers who had been at the park much longer than I had warned me several times that Fourth of July weekend is well-known to have troubles brew. It seems like it had become a yearly tradition for teenagers to end up in fights in the park on that particular weekend.

 

So I was surprised that when I got to work around 1pm-ish that Saturday (which did indeed end with a huge brawl in the plaza outside Steelhawk), I was walking from where I was dropped off in the VIP parking lot and noticed some folding tables sitting out in the walkway towards the entrance. Turns out it was set up for security to search bags and wand people.... But the thing is, there was no one manning those tables at that time of day. It wasn't until later in the day that they had anyone doing searches. Like, what is even the point of having bag searches/etc if you aren't going to be doing it the entire time people are entering the park that day?

 

I'll be interested to see how Fourth of July goes this year at WoF with the new detectors. I'm not sure if knives/etc. have ever been involved in the fights that tend to occur that weekend every year at WoF, but at least now there'll be even less chance of that being the case.

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I'm always against security theater. Usually, security theater discussions are about airport security and the TSA since that's easily the most prominent example of security theater. But I do consider all the new metal detectors popping up to be security theater (Granted, a much smaller form of security theater, but still security theater). I've heard many stories of stuff getting past the metal detectors. It's not a huge deal as the security theater in theme parks is much smaller and far less serious compared to other forms of security theater (Airports) and it's far easier to just go through them and not make a big deal out of it, but I still find it annoying every time (Especially when it's crowded and those metal detectors really slow things down).

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I am a firm supporter of parks having metal detectors, bag checks, and wands. I am completely aware that if someone really wanted to, they could probably sneak weapons through still, or even carry out an act of terrorism, but that doesn't mean safety should be ignored.

 

Criminals/terrorists/bad people in general gravitate towards easy targets, and these common security measures at the very least discourage them, if not actually prevent them completely.

 

You also have to keep in mind that not everyone who may bring a gun (for example) with them is planning to shoot up the park, but people can act pretty irresponsible in large crowds. I am all for people carrying firearms with a permit, but in an amusement park setting like Six Flags Over Georgia for example, they already have gang and violence issues. The metal detectors and wanding probably prevent idiots from thinking they can just stroll into the park and bring their violence with them.

 

As far as I'm concerned, there is no major downside to having extensive safety measures and any place that hosts thousands to tens of thousands of civilians a day should do what they can to keep their properties and guests safe.

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