In the past, malls across America have made attempts to beef up security by installing cameras and increasing the number of security officers on duty. However, recent news of terrorist attacks, deadly carjackings and fatal shootings at malls around the world have resulted in a renewed interest in mall security and premises liability.
A former Newark police officer who previously was in charge of security at the Livingston Mall alleges that New Jersey malls have inadequate security, especially on the outside. He says that boots on the ground is the best deterrent to mall crimes like carjacking because such crimes are crimes of opportunity. Even a skeleton force can substantially reduce the number of carjackings and auto theft crimes, he said.
Some security officers view the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, as the model for mall security. MOA, which has as many as 200,000 shoppers a day during a busy holiday season, has more than 100 officers on its security forces, according to its website. The officers patrol both the interior and exterior of the mall on foot and on bicycle, while threat mitigation is handled by plain clothes special operation units.
A recent carjacking that resulted in death at the Short Hills Mall questions whether mall security was adequate at the time of the incident. The Essex County Sheriff has gone on record saying that the mall has a responsibility to make sure people on the outside are safe. However, it appears from reports that the mall has security cameras at the parking deck entrances and exits but allegedly not inside the deck itself. The failure of a mall or shopping center to provide adequate security measures for shoppers could be viewed as negligence or negligent security.