Local Shoppers Worry About Mall Safety
By Elizabeth Scarborough
POSTED: 8:48 am CST December 6, 2007
UPDATED: 8:57 am CST December 6, 2007
HOUSTON -- Local shoppers were shocked Wednesday night as they heard about the deadly mall rampage in Omaha, Neb., KPRC Local 2 reported.
Are You Worried About Mall Security?
"I know it was terrifying. I would have been terrified," Symotris Turner said.
Turner has a long list of holiday shopping left to do, but she said she is worried.
"It makes you afraid to go to the mall," she said. "You don't know what's going to happen."
As more and more people head to the malls for holiday shopping, many are beginning to wonder how safe they really are.
Simon Stewart said he has not started his Christmas shopping yet, but would like to see security beefed up to protect everyone.
"I think they need extra police," he said. "This time of year is getting real bad."
Local 2 asked half a dozen malls in the Houston area what is being done to keep shoppers safe. Only Memorial City Mall responded, but officials would not say exactly what changes to security are being made.
"Our comprehensive security program includes foot, bicycle and vehicle patrols, video monitoring; complimentary escorts for customers to the parking lot as requested; seasonal safety tips distributed. As mall management is advised about crime patterns around Houston, and events elsewhere that may concern the public, the security team reacts accordingly to modify patrols or routines," a mall representative said.
Alvin Police Chief Mike Merkel said there are three things shoppers need to know if they are trapped in a chaotic shooting situation inside a mall.
First, stand still.
"They're going to pick out individuals who are running to or away from them," Merkel said. "Standing still may keep you from becoming a victim."
Second, make yourself as small a target as possible.
"Get as close to the ground as you can," said Merkel. "Try to get behind a solid object."
Third, if you can get out, exit the mall with your hands up so police will know you're not armed.
* November 29, 2007: Mall Gunman Torched Office, Made Call Before Shooting
* November 28, 2007: Mall Gunman Did Not Know Victim
* November 27, 2007: 2 Shot To Death At North Houston Mall