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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Thursday, April 6, 2017 1:08 PM

I have no objection to metal detectors.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017 1:17 PM

So here's what I've learned:

The metal detectors at private businesses placate insurers and give the stupid and afraid a false sense of security.

If this doesn't sum up exactly what's wrong with everything, I don't know what does.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017 1:41 PM

Simply as a disinterested economist...a lifetime is roughly 80 years is 960 months is 28,800 days give or take...roughly 690,000 hours. If the increased security measures (not at Knott's per se, but airports, stadiums, etc.) mean that a million people spend an extra 45 minutes waiting for screenings due to "terrorist threats" - then the security measures have effectively removed one person from productive society.

Not saying that this is how you should look at it, just an additional perspective....

Last edited by rollergator, Thursday, April 6, 2017 1:42 PM
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Thursday, April 6, 2017 1:52 PM

I don't think I've ever been to a park outside of the United States with a metal detector.

That includes those in Colombia, Mexico, Bangladesh, etc.

Last edited by Richard Bannister, Thursday, April 6, 2017 1:52 PM
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Thursday, April 6, 2017 9:27 PM

rollergator said:

If the increased security measures (not at Knott's per se, but airports, stadiums, etc.) mean that a million people spend an extra 45 minutes waiting for screenings due to "terrorist threats" - then the security measures have effectively removed one person from productive society.



It's OK, the "Fastlane / Fastpass / etc." system puts them back in. At least in the amusement park portion of society.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017 11:46 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
So here's what I've learned:

The metal detectors at private businesses placate insurers and give the stupid and afraid a false sense of security.

If this doesn't sum up exactly what's wrong with everything, I don't know what does.

Yes, well, this is how a marketing firm is now making operational safety policy for an uncomfortably large portion of the amusement industry, too.

I'm not sure the insurers are necessarily behind this, though. Insurers tend to be data driven, and this push feels like an emotional decision. Furthermore, it will be interesting to see what happens when the lawyers get hold of a case where an establishment carefully screened everybody for weapons and several people got shot. It's not a hypothetical; it happened a couple of weeks ago. From an actuarial standpoint which situation is going to be a bigger problem: the establishment sticks to monitoring and response, and something bad happens clearly beyond the establishment's control; or the establishment conducts an extensive screening and leads the patrons to believe they have kept the venue secure...and something bad happens indicating that clearly they missed something?

Either way, it's bad.

And it's the same thing I keep harping on with operations. When is enough, enough? At what point do the precautions taken offer such vastly diminished returns that they aren't worth the effort? The fact is, you can't tell. If you take a precaution and nothing happens, you don't know whether you did enough, did too much, or just got lucky. But if something bad happens, then clearly you didn't do enough. It's great for the purveyors of safety and security theater. But for the rest of us it's a hassle and an unnecessary cost.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Friday, April 7, 2017 12:23 AM

RideMan said:

From an actuarial standpoint which situation is going to be a bigger problem: the establishment sticks to monitoring and response, and something bad happens clearly beyond the establishment's control; or the establishment conducts an extensive screening and leads the patrons to believe they have kept the venue secure...and something bad happens indicating that clearly they missed something?

That's an interesting question.

Could you actaully be more liable because you played security theater?

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Friday, April 7, 2017 12:50 AM

I'm guessing that sooner rather than later we're going to find out. Unless there is evidence uncovered of malfeasance, which has already been alleged.

Mind you, the incident was in a venue where a patron search should have been relatively effective (small space, limited access, etc)...but clearly wasn't.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Friday, April 7, 2017 12:59 AM

My objection to these security screenings is that they're just not effective. They're about show, not safety. Do they make most guests feel safer? Yes. Do they make guests safer? I'm not convinced.

At the theater, [insert Channing Tatum reference here] we recently instituted security screenings and subsequently got a call from a police officer telling us our screeners -- off-duty police officers -- were not doing thorough screenings.

When I go to WDW or Great America or what have you, do I queue up for the screenings? Yes. Do I feel safer? No.

Last edited by slithernoggin, Friday, April 7, 2017 1:02 AM
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Friday, April 7, 2017 9:54 AM

RideMan said:
Yes, well, this is how a marketing firm is now making operational safety policy for an uncomfortably large portion of the amusement industry, too.

Which marketing firm is that?

The notion that this is all just for show is intellectually dishonest. You can make all of the arguments that you want about how the park border is a sieve, or the screeners are ineffective, etc., and maybe those are all reasonable arguments. But whether you like it or not, the security in place is still a deterrent. Would it stop a determined terrorist? Probably not, but then you're thinking of a worst case scenario that's applicable to every public place, including outside the park. Would it stop the usual moron who wants to cause trouble or the guy who "lost" his gun on a ride? Most likely, yes. I think some of you are trying to make this about an absolute 100% safe or not argument, and it's not.

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Friday, April 7, 2017 11:51 AM

Tekwardo said:

If the government was mandating it I'd have issues.

Right, and as I said...

The decisions of privately owned companies probably aren't the best or most applicable examples

However, I still take issue when private entities do security theater, especially when they have a "no guns allowed" policy. It's perfectly within their rights to do it, but I tend to feel less secure in those establishments.

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Friday, April 7, 2017 12:20 PM

Jeff said: Would it stop a determined terrorist? Probably not...

But there's the thing (at least, in my non-neurotypical brain): security theater doesn't protect people from those intendingto do harm. It only protects us from those who forgot they had a pocket knife in their pocket or a gun in their suitcase and weren't intending to harm anyone.

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Friday, April 7, 2017 12:52 PM

Richard Bannister said:
I don't think I've ever been to a park outside of the United States with a metal detector.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach has used them daily for five or six years now. Alton used them at Scarefest last year - but only on certain days.

Last time I went to Asterix they were on the front gate but think that may have been a direct response to the Paris attack.

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Friday, April 7, 2017 1:07 PM

slithernoggin said:
But there's the thing (at least, in my non-neurotypical brain): security theater doesn't protect people from those intending to do harm.

I think as long as you call it "theater" there is no honest discussion taking place. Again, you're making the assertion that the deterrent never stops anyone with intent. How do you know that? There have been several arrests of people packing heat going into Disney parks... what do you know about their intent? And what if a really bad guy intended to open fire in the middle of the Space Mountain platform? Are you saying that the deterrent of the current screening would have no impact on that intent?

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Friday, April 7, 2017 1:17 PM

See, I'm never worried about a terrorist attack at an amusement park. When I attend a huge event in a large place, think Ohio State Football for instance, I occasionally think "if someone wanted to do damage to 100,000 people, this would be the place" but that's it.

Who I am worried about at the park is the a-hole who starts trouble for whatever reason. And when that altercation takes place I'd prefer that the person has no access to their pocket knife. I know it's not 100% but I feel better. And if I'm morally offended by anything a business does (or makes me do) I just don't go.

Speaking of OSU, last season they implemented a new policy where nothing you carry, including the ladies' purses, can be larger than what you can fit comfortably in one hand. They started serving alcohol at the stadium last year, and I think a lot of the search that takes place is looking for alcohol that people might bring in, not so much weapons.

And about clear purses at the workplace, that's far from unusual. Most distribution centers require them for everyone, including the fellas, and that simply is to deter employees from robbing the place blind. Some places forbid employees from wearing clothing with pockets. And if this bothers you, don't think about working at a casino, where employees are often required to change in and out of their pocketless uniforms in front of someone.

It's here, folks. I don't see much to do about it.

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Friday, April 7, 2017 1:33 PM

I find it hard to believe that a person who has the intent to do harm just assumes he can waltz in with his gun past security. Even bad guys are not that dumb. Lots of people in Ohio have a concealed carry permits and they genuinely forget about leaving their guns at home because they are used to always carrying them. No, a person with intent to do harm will find another way than just entering the park as normal.

Granted, not allowing guns or weapons in the park may keep people who happen to get in a fight in the park from using them, but historically how much of a problem has that been? Not much, statistical insignificant. The security checkpoints are just knee jerk reactions to high profile terror attacks that would not stop a determined terrorist.

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Friday, April 7, 2017 1:38 PM

The bad guy can waltz in with no screening.

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Friday, April 7, 2017 2:05 PM

Hasn't it been confirmed that the Pulse shooter scoped out the Magic Kingdom and decided not to shoot the place up because of the security checks?

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Friday, April 7, 2017 2:46 PM

Yes but everyone tried to gloss over that or make some nonsense excuses. I forgot where they were but they were numerous.

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Friday, April 7, 2017 2:49 PM

That was media speculation, another theory was that he choose the club because his target was gay people and obviously a gay club has a concentrated gay population, much more so than Disney.

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