What To Do After a Violent Crime at an Amusement Park

Although we all hope never to need this information, knowing what to do after a violent crime at an amusement park is important.

Amusement parks have a legal duty to keep visitors reasonably safe from aggressive criminal acts. But violent crime still happens. This summer alone, three people were shot in an episode of gun violence at Kennywood amusement park near Pittsburgh, and another three were injured when shots were fired in the parking lot of Six Flags Great America near Chicago.

Violent crime should never be allowed to happen at a place designed to be a safe haven for children, families, and adults alike to enjoy themselves. If you were harmed by negligent security that led to injuries at an amusement park, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim.

An attorney from Bey & Associates who specializes in negligent security law can help you take legal action against an entity that should have prevented the crime that harmed you.

Steps To Take After an Incidence of Violence at an Amusement Park

Violence can take many forms—a mugging, physical or sexual assault, a shooting, an explosive attack, or another act of aggression. What to do after a violent crime at an amusement park will depend on the nature of the violence. Remember, your safety and the safety of others are always the most important.

While we recommend the following general steps to take after a violent crime at an amusement park, only follow the measures that are safe and appropriate based on your situation. Never put yourself in jeopardy in an attempt to take pictures or confront an assailant.

After a violent crime at an amusement park:

  • Get to a place of safety.
  • Notify park security of the incident.
  • Call 911, and do not leave before emergency responders arrive.
  • Examine yourself and others for injuries.
  • If you have the opportunity, write down any details you can about the assailant and the crime while they are fresh in your mind.
  • Give your statement to the police when they arrive.
  • Do not attempt to move anything or clean up the crime scene.
  • Have yourself examined by emergency medical services.
  • Schedule a follow-up appointment with your primary care physician for a complete exam. Notify your health care providers of the nature of the event you experienced.
  • Reach out to a trauma counselor to discuss a treatment plan.
  • Contact a negligent security attorney to learn more about your legal options for recovery.

Physical and Emotional Symptoms You May Experience After a Violent Crime

In addition to any injuries you may have sustained during a violent crime at an amusement park, there will be a range of physical and emotional symptoms that will arise in the aftermath of the trauma.

All victims and witnesses are impacted by a violent crime. Symptoms are completely dependent on the individual. They may appear hours, days, weeks, or months after a violent crime, and can range widely in severity and personal experience.

Symptoms may include:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Sleeplessness
  • Upset stomach and persistent nausea
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Depression
  • Grief
  • Anger
  • Flashbacks and repeatedly replaying the incident in your mind
  • Nightmares
  • Fatigue
  • Guilt
  • Avoidance of social activities or public areas
  • Difficulty concentrating

These reactions are normal. There is absolutely nothing wrong with experiencing one, all, or none of these symptoms. Dealing with the psychological repercussions of a violent crime is not something you should do alone. Even if you tend to withdraw during times like this, surround yourself with the support of trusted family and friends.

Most people benefit from meeting with a mental health counselor during this time. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is commonly associated with witnessing violence. It is not something that can easily be resolved without professional treatment. Don’t let fear of affordability stop you from reaching out for the help you need. Expenses like counselor and therapist bills can usually be compensated in a personal injury claim if you decide to pursue legal action.

How Many Violent Crimes Are Committed at Amusement Parks?

Generally speaking, the rate of violent crimes (aggravated assault, robbery, murder, and rape) committed in amusement parks is much lower than the rate in the surrounding city. For example, the rate of violent crime in Disneyland was about 1.4 per million visitors in 2015, nothing close to the rate experienced by the adjacent city of Anaheim.

However, an eruption of guest-on-guest violence has been observed in recent years, with amusement parks across the country reporting spikes in incidents of violence on park property.

Knott’s Berry Farm in California temporarily shut its doors to the public and instituted a chaperone policy for teens after a string of violent fights made headlines over the summer of 2022. Earlier in May of the same year, Disneyland security guards were forced to break up a fistfight between guests at an attraction. Universal Studios in Orlando, Six Flags America near Washington, D.C., Busch Gardens in Virginia, Elitch Gardens in Denver, and Kings Island in Ohio all reported outbreaks of violence in the past two years, many ending in hospitalizations.

There are a number of specific types of crimes that seem to arise frequently in and around amusement parks. These include:

  • Theft
  • Carjacking
  • Pickpocketing
  • Shoplifting
  • Public drunkenness
  • Fighting
  • Aggravated assault
  • Defacing public property

A 2019 study conducted by University of Texas at Dallas researchers found that amusement park areas were likely to have higher crime rates when bars, restaurants, and hotels were located in and around the park premises. The congregation of both tourists and locals in large numbers—combined with the presence of establishments that encouraged partying and alcohol use at late hours—led to an increased concentration of crimes committed around the amusement park.

This highly concentrated area of criminal activity was not consistent with the rest of the city, leading researchers to believe that the presence of the amusement park and other tourist attractions was an important factor in the elevated crime rates. Some areas surrounding the amusement parks studied saw a nearly 200% increase in crime rates over similar neighborhoods a mere few miles away.

Staying Safe at Amusement Parks in Atlanta

There’s a lot to love about an amusement park. Roller coasters, cotton candy, water rides, carnival games, and a general atmosphere of good-time frivolity draw millions of people to places like Six Flags Over Georgia, Wild Adventures, and even Skyline Park.

We at Bey & Associates are saddened that violent crimes at amusement parks are something we are forced to think about. And when they happen, we want to make sure we do all we can to both help the victim and prevent future occurrences.

If you experienced a violent crime at an amusement park that should have been prevented by adequate security measures, call Bey & Associates in Atlanta, GA. We’ll schedule a completely free case evaluation to discuss your legal rights and options.

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