The trend these days is to build open-air shopping centers that combine stores, restaurants, and other entertainment. Never the less, there are still thousands of enclosed shopping malls that exist. Shopping malls were most popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s, malls were the place to hang out and for some it still is. That’s why mall safety is still a concern. After all when you get that many people in one condensed area something bad is bound to happen.
Statistics show criminal activity in malls tends to happen in two general areas. That is, the food court and parking lot. In the parking lot the most common violent crimes committed are stranger-on-stranger purse snatching, strong-arm robbery, and sometimes carjackings and abductions.
When inside the mall be sure to protect yourself, your children, and your belongings. Keep in mind, the food court is a common place for gang members to hang out and possibly get in fights. If you are with your kids, teach them to go to a store clerk if they get separated from you or lost. You should try and shop during daylight hours. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry or carrying large amounts of cash. Don’t overload yourself with packages and always keep them close to you. The same goes for a purse and if you have a wallet, keep that in your front pocket.
It’s possible something way more serious than a purse snatching can happen when at the mall. The mall could become under attack or there could be a shooter. If something like a shooting happens the first thing you should try to do is hide and be quiet. If something like a terror act were to take place then the first thing you should do, if you are with others, is to stay together. If you go to the mall with family or friends you should always have an emergency place to meet both inside and outside the mall. Never look for someone else, go directly to the designated area.
Now, let’s talk about the parking lot. Police say the most important factor in parking lot safety is that you be aware of your surroundings. If you are at an open parking lot then park as close as you can to the building in which you are going into. When parking, never park by a van and always park near a light. If you absolutely have to park far away and you are alone, then when you are finished shopping you might want to ask mall security to escort you to your car. If there is no security, make sure you walk out when other shoppers are leaving. You should walk with your keys in hand and walk directly to your car. If something were to happen, remain calm and yell to get the attention of people around you.
Finally, mall management has a responsibility to provide security. This usually comes in the form of security guards and security parking lot patrols. In addition, a mall might have a surveillance system. But the reality is when mall shopping security is up to you How you behave and the common sense you use will most likely determine if you are a victim Remember, the mall can be a playground for fun, but it can also be a playground for thieves and predators.