A Waxahachie woman who was shot in the face at NorthPark Mall is still recovering in the hospital according to Texas News Reports. This is a tragedy that is seen across America. Malls and shopping centers are often a magnet for criminals that prey on innocent victims. Here, Mary Boyd, was waiting outside the mall to pick up her daughter who was at the movie theatre.
An article in the Dallas Morning News listed an unidentified security expert who was quoted as saying “while surveillance cameras may help catch a criminal after the fact , they rarely deter one”. I am not a security expert, however, I strongly disagree with that statement. It has been my experience in trying cases involving inadequate security over the last twenty years that testimony has been quite the contrary to that expert’s opinion. Common sense alone should tell us that if someone is watching , you are bound to at least think twice before you commit an act that you would not want others to know you committed. What is the old question, If you could do something and never be seen doing it, would you in fact still do it, even if that was something you should not be doing?
Security Camera Companies boast in their sales pitches that cameras can deter crime even though no guarantee exists as to how much crime will be deterred. The real question is does the mall or facility using the cameras know how to fully operate the system once it is installed? Are these cameras installed in the correct locations? Are there enough cameras for the area being watched? Is there adequate lighting for the mall parking lot? We have all heard that a light on the outside porch can be a good tool that can deter crime. The same holds true for parking lots, is the area bright or is it poorly lighted? Is there someone monitoring the video or is it just playing and recording with no one watching to see if a crime is about to be committed? It has been my experience that criminals often hang out for hours at a location wandering around before finding their victims. It has also been my experience that video footage displaying the predator can be found after a serious inquiry is made into all of the video footage on hand.
Other questions that must be answered are; Where was Security at the time of the shooting? Were the security folks on alert, or were they on a smoke break, or were they conversing with mall employees as opposed to being attentive and securing the mall and/or facility?
Fortunately, it seems as though Mrs. Boyd will survive this ordeal. Unlike a recent client of mine that was abducted from a large hospital and later murdered, Mrs. Boyd will live to tell about this tragedy, however, she will be physically and mentally scarred from such a tragic event. My prayers go out to her and her family and any other innocent victims that are injured or have been killed in situations like these.
Mall Management companies need to make safety a priority when designing and operating their facilities.
If a Security Escort Service is available that should be advertised as big as the marketing campaigns used to lure shoppers their way. It’s not enough to say that escort security is available, shoppers need to know that security escorts are available as much as shoppers know they can always find the Nordstroms Department Store.
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