Using the "low hanging fruit" theory, the cheapest destination to get into is going to have the most problems. Given the difficulty of "profiling" gang members without getting yourself accused of racial harassment (or, in the state of Florida, the far more unpopular offense of interfering with FSU football recruiting), I wouldn't be surprised to see Disney opt for the much more logistically simple and financially lucrative option of... charging people to park at Downtown Disney.
How much? A buck more than CityWalk charges.
Seriously, this is neither Disney's nor Universal's job. The solution to gangs is two-fold: First, you need a strong local economy that's creating entry-level jobs paying a living wage, to reduce the economic incentive to join a gang and to do the drugs that enrich the gang. (Theme parks could help here by increasing their wages instead of nickel- and diming- their employees with every contract.)
Second, you need local law enforcement that takes a strong, proactive approach to identifying, inflitrating and monitoring local gangs. Once gangs figure out that the cops are watching and noting everything each member does, they tend to quit doing things like calling attention to themselves in public places, like Downtown Disney.
But Orlando/Orange County has to do that. The theme parks can't as effectively as needs be. That said, the parks do need to enable the local police and sheriff's officers to come on property and monitor the crowds. If that is done in plainclothes, it probably wouldn't upset the other guests, and, frankly, might be more effective in the long run in helping the police gather information.
Obviously Disney needs professional security to clean that area up. Not just a few lower wage security folks, but a real professional security company to ensure the safety of their patrons. Then could easily hire off duty police or Correction officers to help out
Because Downtown is open to the public and they have taken down the the barrier to Pleasure Island (and the security/bouncers that went with it), there are more locals coming to hang around and for most people who come to Disney, they leave their home states and cities to come to a place that should be free of gang colors and personal threats. I came back from WDW a month or so ago and fully understand what is being said here. Although it is on Disney property, the downtown area is built to attract local people when park attendance fluxuates during the year...same with Citywalk. Due to this, it draws the local element and Orlando has its nasty parts, like any major urban area. If you want to clean up Downtown from that element of the population and make the tourists safer, charge for parking on the site. You will be amazed at how quick it will change when loiterers realize they have to cough up some dough...it goes against the whole loitering thing and they will be history.
Unfortunately, since the retailers and eateries are their own entities renting/leasing on Disney property, they will not charge for parking in the lots there...they will loose revenue if consumers have to pay to browse at their stores. It wouldn't work...Disney will have to step up the security force (by hiring people under the age of sixty to police the area) downtown and eject rowdies or no-good-nicks that cause trouble.
Computers and scanning devices would make this easy to do. You could scan the parking receipt that you got earlier in the day (at a Disney park) at the entry gate for free entry.
If you didn't go to a park that day, you would pay when you enter the lot like anywhere else and get a ticket with a barcode. Take the ticket with you to a restaurant or shop, and have it scanned when you get the bill. If you meet the criteria you would automatically get a credit back to your original credit card. (This would not subtract from the restaurant's bill, it would just indicate that a credit would issue for parking. This could only happen once obviously.)
This would not help cash customers, but tourists are definitely going to have credit cards. (If you can afford to go to Disney, you definitely have a credit card.)
Locals who do not have credit cards could sign up for a "parking account" to which money could be credited and used the next time they go to DD. (In other words, you still have to pay once, but it would be free after that as long as you meet the usual "free parking" criteria.) Gang members are not going to sign up for an account.
With that said, one possible solution is to "hem in" the Downtown Disney area to resort guests only. It would be interesting to know what percentage of the sales of all items (food, drink, gifts, etc) across the DD area is from people staying at WDW vs not. Assuming the percentage is high enough to warrant it, this could work.
Gate in the entire area (it's already got clearly defined entry/exit points, so this could be done.) Each gate has a security station for checking all guests coming in, metal detectors, etc. Some may say this would keep them from visiting - not me! I would feel a lot more secure knowing everyone else inside DD with me had gone through the same checkpoint and procedure. A dress code would be clearly posted, saying no foul language on clothing, no gang insignias, and good taste (no partial nudity or butt cracks, etc.) Enforced at the check in as best they can. They do this in the parks, they can do it here.
Entry for WDW resort guests (and the nearby DD Hotels) would be free with valid park admission or resort ID. Anyone else would need to purchase a ticket - say $10 adults, $5 children, perhaps higher - whatever a fair and reasonable price would be, while still being a prohibitive cost for those wanting a free hangout.
For locals, have a few select nights each month, requiring the same security checkins, with a valid ID or visiting with a parent ONLY. On those nights, double security with a mix of very obvious uniformed security teams and plain clothes teams.
To anyone who says they would feel uncomfortable, I respectfully ask, "If you aren't doing - or planning - anything wrong, while feel uncomfortable?"
For Disneyland (my neck of the woods), I think they could move the DD side of the security checkpoint to near the Disneyland Hotel entrance, making the entire area enclosed and requiring the checkpoint.
My two cents. :)
And I totally disagree with Robert N in his idea of combating crime by increasing wages at a theme park or anywhere else for that matter.From dealing with gang members on a daily basis there is no way a so-called living wage would have any effect at all on gang members. They perfer to make money doing so in a illegal manner and dont want the hassles of having to arrive at a job on time on a daily basis. You want to combat gang members you stop having poor/illiterate women producing numerous kids with multiple fathers who have no interaction with the kids they created. The peer pressure of thugs in certain neighborhoods along with rap music/video's/video games etc will influence young kids who are basically brought up as being feral kids will matter much more than a government imposed living wage will.
Even for people already in gangs, job training and placement can help pick off members on the edges of gangs, if part of an intervention driven by law enforcement. But the long-term solution needs both prevention and aggressive pursuit of gang leaders. And a healthy reduction in the demand for illegal drugs, of course.
Again, I come back to my point that this is out of Disney's (or any theme park's) league. Bring in the gang-trained cops and either put people through a security check or charge for parking, if you really want to keep the troublemakers out.