Knott's Berry Farm adds metal detectors

Posted Wednesday, April 5, 2017 8:44 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Knott's Berry Farm has begun using metal detectors to screen park guests, becoming the latest Southern California theme park to upgrade it's security measures.

Read more from The Orange County Register.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017 8:46 AM

But Rachelle Ottosen, a visitor from Olalla, Wash., was upset she had to take a pocketknife she uses for self-defense back to her car.

What does she look like? I want to avoid her in the parking lot.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017 9:48 AM

It was said during one of the tour stops of WCO that metal detectors were going up at all of the gates at CP, too.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017 9:57 AM

This is why I carry a brick and wooden baseball bat for self defense. Security is none the wiser, and if someone scares me I can toss the brick in to the air and bat it right at their head.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017 3:08 PM

Never been to a park (or other event/location) with metal detectors and felt more safe because of it. Or to a park (or other event/location) without metal detectors and felt less safe because of it. To me, some people seem to be searching for things to fear.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017 8:09 PM

I would imagine it has more to do with the business than any particular individual fear. If someone got into your park and shot up the place because they could easily carry through the front gate, I don't know if you come back from that. (And yes, I understand they could just do it outside the gate.)

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017 9:47 PM

I wasn't talking about it from the park perspective. I understand why they would conform to what other parks are doing (creating a standard of care defense) even if its effectiveness is limited (or even non existent). Or otherwise put in place that which is for show. Much of what we see (endure) at airports every day is based on the same concepts.

I was talking about the people quoted in the article who felt a little unsafe before the detectors and felt more safe with them in place. And the person who feels unprotected because she has to leave her self-defense pocket knife in her car. Those are the experiences/thought processes with which I cannot identify.

To a degree, what the parks do serves to validate on some level the individual fear. And the individual fear is at least part of the reason for the business action. So the two are related. But again, I was only speaking to the individual not the business.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017 11:05 PM

The unprotected lady without a knife should go here.

Last edited by Pete, Thursday, April 6, 2017 11:03 AM
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Thursday, April 6, 2017 2:16 AM

Am I the only one who feels that there should be a whole lot more opposition, anger and outright outrage over this stuff?

For me, the first issue is the hassle and the silliness of it all. Metal detectors used at amusement park entrances have a near-100% false positive rate, which means they are not a particularly useful screening tool in the first place. Second, I don't really understand the point of trying to maintain a property with a relatively porous border as a 'sterile' zone. Of course the parks know better, but that makes the measures make even less sense. The parks know it is not an effective measure, it requires a significant investment in equipment and manpower, it serves to annoy just about everybody who comes through the gate (if only because of the delays that result from doing it) and quite frankly the downsides seem to significantly outweigh any advantages. There is a reason that one of the first things Cedar Fair did when they took over Kings Island was to unplug the magnetometers. (And I am not entirely sure why they put them back in late last season...).

I'm also philosophically opposed to doing these invasive searches on everybody who comes through the gate. Putting aside that the park is an extralegal entity, so the usual legal concepts do not apply, one of the founding principles of this country is the presumption of innocence, a presumption rooted in the reality that most people are not interested in causing trouble. And yet, performing this kind of a screening on every person entering the venue is, in fact, a demonstrated presumption of guilt. Every person coming through the gate is assumed to be a weapons-carrying troublemaker until the designated agent at the gate determines otherwise. What this means is that if some Bad Guy™ runs up to the park entrance and starts shooting people and is quickly taken into custody, that *suspect*...even though hundreds of people standing in line waiting to get into the park *witnessed* him committing an illegal act...is legally entitled to a presumption of innocence which is systematically denied to all the innocent people waiting to enter the park. Why do we stand for this?

Finally, setting up a checkpoint at the park entrance that takes any longer than scanning a ticket will inevitably result in long lines and large crowds collected outside the checkpoint. From a safety perspective, if the park is truly concerned about Bad Guys™ doing very bad things, this is one of the very worst things the park can do. That large mob of people is something that a Bad Guy™ would call a target. Knott's, in particular, is an especially vulnerable target. Last time I visited that park, they were doing a simple bag check and even that, combined with the ticket sales and entry queues, meant that the entire entrance plaza between the entrance gates and the street was *full* of people, with people spilling out of the plaza, down the sidewalk, and actually into the street. The street in this case happens to be an uncontrolled public thoroughfare that runs down the middle of the shopping district and between the park and the main parking lot. As if the basic mix of pedestrians and traffic were not bad enough, dare I mention that there have been several recent terrorist attacks involving attackers driving vehicles through crowds of people? With that in mind, wouldn't the best means of protecting park guests not be to get them through the gates as quickly as possible? After all, the crowd inside the park is a self-selected crowd less likely to have intent to cause problems, and in general much easier to monitor and manage than a large mob outside the gate.

Of course, the recent changes at Cedar Point, particularly at the Resorts gate, in which the roadway overpass has been replaced with a pedestrian grade crossing presents less of a hazard than the Knott's front gate simply because traffic on that road is screened *twice* and limited to hotel and official business traffic. But again, it is a potential blending of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, where creating a bottleneck and crowd is inherently unsafe.

I'm not saying that there aren't safety and security issues in these parks. Just look at the news stories about the brawl in Cleveland a couple of weeks ago (where, I should mention, magnetometers were in use the last time I attended) for evidence of that. I'm saying that this is a lousy way to address them.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017 7:14 AM

Metal detectors are the new OTSRs.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017 9:49 AM

If there were a vote up X 1,000 option, I would apply it to RideMan's post.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017 10:17 AM

I think the security measures are largely put in place to placate the insurers...if the insurance company *thinks* it makes the parks safer, then it lowers the premiums.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017 10:59 AM

I find the outrage silly. "Why do we stand for this!" In the overall scheme of things, security screening at theme parks isn't even on my radar of things to be outraged by, considering the nonsense going on in DC and other places. With that said, this has been going on for awhile at WDW, and bag searches for as long as I can remember. It doesn't even register as an event.

Now if you want to complain that it's poorly implemented at park X, sure, I get it. They could do better. Direct your outrage at that instead of some bigger ideological position that no park is ever going to see unless everyone stops going.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017 11:09 AM

RideMan said:

Am I the only one who feels that there should be a whole lot more opposition, anger and outright outrage over this stuff?

You're not the only one Dave. The problem is not enough people are outraged by these "security" measures to affect a business's bottom line. Matter of fact, a good portion of our society is pleased to see this since they think they are now "safe". As I said on Pointbuzz, there is no need for terrorists to target the U.S. anymore, we do a great job of terrorizing ourselves with the mindset of fear and "security" checkpoints. The terrorists have won.

Last edited by Pete, Thursday, April 6, 2017 11:09 AM
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Thursday, April 6, 2017 11:21 AM

Meh. I can take it or leave it. At Disney over the last week, we hardly noticed the checkpoints. We just went through and continued our day.

Sure, the metal detectors are ugly, and they could do a better job at blending them in with the surroundings, but they didn't hurt anything.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017 11:46 AM

I'm OUTRAGED that I have to do something I don't want to do in order to receive a service or product I want from a private company!!!

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Thursday, April 6, 2017 11:51 AM

I always chuckle at declarations that "the terrorists have won" when something like this happens. As if a bunch of guys from ISIS are taking to the streets to celebrate because Knott's installed metal detectors out of fear. Terrorists care about high body counts and destruction, not fear or metal detectors.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017 12:39 PM

This is also not on my radar of things to care about, either from a practical or from a philosophical standpoint. I think there are many more issues leading to our "presumption of guilt" including the local evening news, fear mongering in politics, and anti-intellectualism.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017 12:54 PM

Maybe "outrage" isn't necessarily the right word, but I do find it interesting that the older I get, the more we're ok with little things that, slowly over time, chip away at our freedom. The decisions of privately owned companies probably aren't the best or most applicable examples of this, but to Dave's points, these metal detectors are entirely unnecessary and actually present more of a danger, which is quite the irony since that is the polar opposite of their intent.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017 12:59 PM

If the government was mandating it I'd have issues. But companies will do as much as they can get away with to cut costs and insurance companies are out of control. If they were in check and we weren't such a litigious society, there would be no metal detectors at parks.

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