Shopping Centers Today

JUL 2014

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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6 S C T / J u l y 2 0 1 4 Shopping centers make security a priority Security has been at center stage in the media and in the shopping center world over the past few years as a series of high-profile mall shootings forces landlords and law-enforcement agencies to reassess readiness levels in preparation for the dreaded "worst-case scenario." A panel at RECon presented a sobering glimpse of the un- predictability of shooting events and stressed that training can — and has — saved lives. Security consultants for Garden State Plaza Mall, in Paramus, N.J., talked about that mall's harrowing experience last November when a gunman began shooting there and then took his own life. No one else was injured. "It is essential that you get all stakeholders — be they managers, tenants, maintenance personnel or housekeep- ing — to understand that it can happen," said Shaul Maouda, senior vice president of Los Angeles–based Professional Security Consultants. "And in this case it did. We strongly feel that preparation there saved injuries and saved lives." The mall's camera system was able to track the shooter from the instant he entered the mall, said Michael Lam- bos, vice president at Professional Security. "We knew where he was going and what he was armed with," he said. Most of these shooters are publicity seekers, Lam- bos said. Terrorists involved in the mall shootings in Kenya that killed nearly 70 people two years ago had rented a storefront at the mall where they stockpiled weapons and ammunition over a long period as they planned their assault, said moderator Joe Gehr, CEO of Aventura, Fla.–based Technon Security Consulting. Some malls fear that active shooter drills may carry nega- tive connotations. To remedy that, Easton Town Center, in Columbus, Ohio, decided to stage a drill for its staff that in- volved the community and personnel from other area malls, in addition to the police and fire departments, said Kevin Ce- dik, director of security there. "Training is so crucial," Cedik said. It is also essential that mall managers establish a relation- ship with the police to make sure they are familiar with the retail property, said Clark Rice, director of Bellevue Square Managers, of Bellevue, Wash. "It is critical that you are not introducing yourself to the police chief after it has become a crime scene," he said. Malls can get a better grasp of less- serious crimes at their centers by collecting data on the loca- tions, times and gravity of incidents and analyzing it monthly to help allocate resources, says Rice. Bill Strother, director of corporate security at Houston-based Weingarten Realty, noted that a bored security guard may become a bad security guard. "You have to keep them engaged and motivated," he said. Bellevue gives its security guards three levels of tasks they can perform while on watch to address just that issue. Taubman to offer tenants free Internet Recognizing the importance of connectiv- ity to retailing success, Taubman Centers will offer free basic Internet access to the tenants at 20 of the malls it manages across the U.S., through its preferred vendor Single Digits. Beginning this summer, a business-class T1-equivalent service will be offered free of charge to tenants in these properties. "Retailers are pursuing omni- channel customer-engagement strategies," said Michael Osment, Taubman's chief technology officer. "And that requires fast, secure Internet access." Over the past several years, major mall operators have offered a range of digital services to tenants and shoppers in their properties, including free consumer Wi- Fi. But with this program, tenants will be offered business-class access, says Osment, who estimates that this new offering will reduce costs for tenant users by ap- proximately $100 to $200 per month. t a u b m a n ' s m a l l , i n c h a r l o t t e T H E C O M M O N A R E A WAlMART PlAyS FAIR, DDR TRIMS TENANTS TO FIT, DEPARTMENT STORES FIGHT FOR MARKET SHARE 6-10_SCT_JUL14_Common Area.indd 6 6/13/14 12:09 PM

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