The National Zoo in D.C. has decided to increase security on “high access days” (boldface mine):
Security in any large urban environment today is challenging. The Zoo faces particular problems during high visitation periods, including March and April, when the spring-break period for local school systems overlaps with increased visitation. Following the shooting that took place on Connecticut Ave last April and previous incidents in or near the Zoo, the Smithsonian Director of the Office of Protection Services (OPS) and Smithsonian’s National Zoo Director consulted with several groups and the local community to develop solutions.
After months of study, a report by a security consultant and an analysis of the site, the directors of the Zoo and Smithsonian security concluded that the best course of action is to implement temporary “access controls” on high visitation days. Controlled access means the Zoo will conduct bag checks and other forms of visitor screening, as well as restrict the number of people entering the Zoo. These measures, which may vary by day and event, are similar to those procedures employed by Smithsonian museums.
This temporary access control philosophy is similar to that used by U.S. Park Police during large scale special events to include the annual July 4th celebration on the National Mall. The Zoo is preparing to implement this security solution this spring.
The implementation of temporary access controls is the most feasible, cost-effective solution, with the intention of eliminating violence, especially from individuals and groups with concealed weapons, in and around the Zoo during high capacity days.
The reality is that, every few years on Easter Monday, there is usually some kind of violence. That said, the National Zoological Park (its formal name) also functions as a park for the residents of the District. It should be as open as possible. I’m not sure there’s an alternative, but I don’t like this development at all.