Survey Reports that Mall Security is Inadequate

June 16, 2006
Assessment reveals that shopping-center security is too lax to protect patrons from terrorism

The Police Foundation, a law enforcement think-tank in Washington, D.C., recently set out to assess security in malls; the goal was to identify how capable and prepared private security in large retail spaces are in the event that these facilities become the target of terrorists. The project was in collaboration with the Alexandria, VA-based American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) and, according to the Police Foundation, consisted of the following four components:

  1. A survey of state legislation regarding hiring and training of mall security staff.
  2. A survey of state homeland security advisors to determine their perceptions of security at large malls in their state.
  3. A survey of security directors at the 1,200 largest malls in the nation.
  4. Visits to exemplary sites to describe what they have done and how they have done it.

Among the many findings were the high turnover rates of security officers, the low percentage (16 percent) of malls that reported increased security-related spending since 9/11, and the large number (62 percent) of security managers reporting inadequate anti-terrorism training.

In a June 8, 2005, USA TODAY article on the findings, reporter Kevin Johnson explained the long-acknowledged vulnerability of malls by saying, “Malls have been the object of law enforcement concerns because of the vulnerability of their numerous entry and exit points. These concerns have been mentioned occasionally in FBI bulletins to local law enforcement since 9/11.”

To read Johnson’s complete article, click here or, to find out more, contact the Police Foundation by calling (202) 833-1460, e-mailing ([email protected]), or visiting (

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