Assessing The Impact of Actual and Perceived Safety and Security Problems on Park Use and Enjoyment


  • James Edward Fletcher


accidents, crime, law enforcement, nonuse, perceptions, safety, security, visitor protection


Safe and secure parks are essential to leisurely use and enjoyment. Perceived or actual increases in crimes or accidents in a park area may reduce public use of the park as well as support for the park and managing agency. The problem-assessment method for safety and security discussed here was developed and tested during 1980 and 1981 in seven parks at Somerville Lake, Texas.Park users' perceptions of and actual experiences with safety and security problems were measured by collecting and analyzing data from crime and accident reports and from on-site interviews with 504 park users. Data analysis revealed that some crimes were under-reported to area law enforcement agencies, and that actual and visitor-perceived crime rates were significantly higher in non-fee pru;ks than in fee parks, which caused some visitors to avoid non-fee parks. This was largely attributed to the controlled visitor access at fee parks.?





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