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Family fun gone wrong at Chuck E. Cheese's?

Police respond to 150 calls at 3 Jacksonville-area restaurants last year

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Chuck E. Cheese's promises fun for all ages, but the I-TEAM found fights, assaults, drunks and a shot fired at its three Jacksonville restaurants.

After a recent brawl inside a California location that sent one woman to a hospital went viral, News4Jax looked into police calls to these family-friendly restaurants.

Between the Southside Boulevard and Atlantic Boulevard and Youngerman Circle locations, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office responded to calls of fights, assaults, disputes and one case of gunfire at the three restaurants 150 times in 2016. That averages to about three calls to police call every week.

"There is fights all the time; parents out here fighting," said one mother who was at the Atlantic Boulevard restaurant on Monday. "I've seen where a woman had her child in her hands and started fighting with another woman. It's really bad. I don't even bring my kids here no more."

The Regency-area location had 55 calls for service in 2016, including eight disputes, four family disputes, one fight one assault, one call about fireworks and one report of a gunshot fired.

The Southside location had the most calls -- 57 -- but many were burglary alarms. There were two disputes and one assault reported.

At the Youngerman Circle location, there were 41 police calls last year, including 11 disputes, two drug investigations and two fights due to people being drunk.

The mother who does not want her name used thinks things went downhill when the kid-friendly restaurant started serving alcohol.

"That's not a place to get drunk. It's a place for families to have fun," she said.

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said it's important to keep the fighting in perspective.

"You would get a bit more of that at a Chuck E Cheese's restaurant than another restaurant because kids are running around, parents are running around," Smith said.

A spokeswoman for the restaurants' owner, CEC Entertainment, released this statement:

We’re committed to the safety of our guests and take great measures to protect the experience children and families have in our restaurants. Incidents are actually very rare and only occur with a very small percentage of those who visit us. And unfortunately, as in kids’ soccer and baseball games across the country, typically such incidents involve adults – not the children.  Safety is one of our company’s four core values, and many of the measures we have in place – such as our industry leading Kid Check system – are transparent to our guests to encourage an environment Where A Kid Can Be a Kid.”
 


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