Malls increase security in time for holiday crowds

 

When a suicidal gunman entered a New Jersey mall earlier this month and opened fire, store manager Daisy Rodriguez locked the doors and hid in the back of her shop, nothing guiding her but instinct.

"I was panicked. I was scared. I was just shaking," said Rodriguez, 21, a manager at Soma Intimates in the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus. "They never trained us."

The 20-year old N.J. gunman fired six shots before retreating to a basement to kill himself. No one else was hurt, but this incident and the Nairobi, Kenya, shopping mall terror attack that killed 72 have renewed attention on security at shopping malls ahead of the holiday season.

With just three weeks to go before the busiest U.S. shopping day of the year—the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday—government security officials are ramping up efforts to better protect the nation's approximately 109,500 malls and shopping centers, the Chicago Tribune reports.

"There has been a significant outreach to major retail outlets and other so-called soft targets to improve security," said a Department of Homeland Security official, who was not authorized to discuss the outreach and requested anonymity.

 

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