Lagrange Daily News

Are Malls Safe? South Carolina, New Jersey Shootings Raise Questions About Security, Procedure

April 5, 2022

A pair of  Lagrange Daily News shootings at shopping malls this month, first in New Jersey and then in South Carolina, sent shoppers and employees scrambling for safety.

The incidents left security experts to answer the question of what malls are doing to keep millions of visitors safe.

In Columbia, South Carolina, 14 people were injure in a shooting Saturday at Columbian Center Mall as shoppers browsed on Easter weekend. In East Rutherford, New Jersey, on April 7, a 37-year-old man was shot multiple times at the American Dream mall, one of the country’s largest retail and entertainment complexes.

Shopping malls present more security challenges than other public locations because of their large open spaces and interior doorways that lead to restaurants and shops – dead ends with no exterior exits,  experts said.

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At the American Dream mall, most people ran in search of exterior exits, and others found hiding places. Shoppers expressed confusion on social media. Unlike schools, where students participate in emergency drills for active shooters, fires and many other scenarios, shoppers in malls are not clued in on the best action to take.

Brian Higgins, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan and former chief. The Bergen County Police Department, stressed importance of being prepare for a shooting or similar situation when visiting a mall. Even though the chances of such an event are very low. Lagrange Daily News

If a shooting does happen, Higgins said, getting out of the building is the ideal first step. If that is not possible, people should try to hide behind or under something and remember to silence their cellphones.

“You have to be very cautious. But I want to caution people not to be so nervous that when they go out, they don’t enjoy life,” Higgins said. “Statistically, most people will not be involved in an incident like this, but if one does, it can be very devastating.” lagrange daily news

Mall Security and ‘Run, Hide, Fight’ Lagrange Daily News

As police find faster and more efficient ways to respond to shooting incidents in public spaces, mall officials have ramped up their security systems, responses and training.

Dan Kennedy, senior vice president of U.S. security operations at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, the owners of Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey, and 24 other U.S. properties, said he sometimes stays up at night thinking of worst-case scenarios.

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