Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

Q&A: Jonathan Low-Hang, Nothing But Padlocks

In your experience, how much of a problem is theft in theme parks and waterparks?

The number of thefts and issues with lost property has been decreasing in theme parks and waterparks, but it is still an issue. The Coventry Telegraph warns that just for Drayton Manor and Alton Towers (UK) there were a reported 121 incidents of theft and 26 calls to the police about lost property from 2015 to 2017.


What actions can amusement park operators take to help keep their visitors’ possessions secure?

I think a layered approach to security is always the best way. Giving visitors access to secure locations in which they can store their possessions without worrying about them. Somewhere that is both covered by cameras and secured by mechanical and perhaps RFID locker technology. Visitors should also be given the opportunity to purchase extra security products such as combination luggage padlocks to suit their needs at the park. Additionally the personal touch of making regular inspections of the area in which visitors’ possessions are locked away will help keep these possessions secure.


Theme parks and waterparks are often largely outdoors – what challenges does this pose to security technology? What products can be used to help overcome them?

Electronic security systems can sometimes struggle in varying weather conditions, especially in coastal areas. Operators should look at weatherproof combination padlocks that will work in these outdoor conditions – for example, the Shield MC40, Squire CP40S or the Abus 180IB series. These products have both non-corrosive external and internal components. With good care, they will last in some of the harshest outdoor conditions.


Operators often opt for RFID technology or similar for wristbands to secure lockers – how does this compare to manual securities measures like padlocks? Do you think they are becoming obsolete or do they still have a place in amusement park security?

Both security measures have their pros and cons. Mechanical security measures still have a place in amusement park security as part of a blended approach to security. RFID technology works simply and there is no need for keys or to remember codes, unlike security measures such as padlocks where keys must be kept or codes remembered.


However, the startup cost of RFID and the possibility of power failure depending on how the system is implemented is possible. Also, interference from mobile phones and radio waves can disrupt the signal. Padlocks take a bit more time to use and some of them can be a little bulky but the mechanics should work and the initial cost of the system isn’t as high as RFID. Padlocks are the tried and tested method.


Which padlocks are best suited to amusement park/waterpark use?

Some of the popular combination padlocks include the Squire Heavy Duty Combination Padlock series. But if you’re looking for added security have a look at the Abus 190CS series that can be used to secure gates, lockboxes and compounds.


The combination padlock is great for securing lockers and personal belongings such as rucksacks. The most popular small combination padlock is the Abus 155 series. These padlocks are resettable and are not susceptible to the common technique of pulling the shackle to discover the code.


If you’re looking for something with a bit of colour, have a look at the Abus 145 series. These come in a range of colours including blue, red, silver, yellow, green, lilac, brown and orange. A great lightweight and secure padlock.


If you’re looking for a small weatherproof combination padlock have a look at the Shield MC40. This works great in even saltwater environments and is excellent for use on external lock boxes, lockers, rucksacks and low-security gates.

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