MILBURN, NJ (PIX11) – In light of last month’s shooting incident at the Garden State Plaza in Paramus and the cold-blooded murder of 30-year-old attorney Dustin Friedland on Sunday night at the Mall at Short Hills, there are many now asking the following, “How safe are you inside of a mall?”
According to Sal Lifrieri, President of Protective Countermeasures, “I think you’re relatively safe.”
Lifrieri’s response consists of only five words, but the word “relatively” may be cause for concern.
The retired NYPD detective, who has consulted on mall security in Las Vegas, says that shopping malls provide adequate protection. However, he also notes that, “Crime can happen to you anywhere and especially when you’re going into a mall.”
After a gunman opened fire inside the Garden State Plaza mall last November, it took police hours to find him. Luckily, no one was hurt in that incident. This past weekend, however, a married lawyer from Hoboken was gunned down in front of his wife by two carjackers, and the killers were able to flee the parking lot and, so far, avoid arrest. Safety is a pressing concern at this time as malls find themselves in the midst of the busiest shopping stretch of the year.
PIX 11 News contacted representatives for Taubman Company’s which manages the Mall at Short Hills, Westfield’s Garden State Plaza, and Simon Malls The Westchester, but they declined interviews or camera access to the malls saying they do not discuss security measures. In the case of Short Hills, they cited an active investigation.
This said, is there any particular section of a mall that is safer than another portion of it? Lifrieri says, “Not really. If you’re looking at parking, you’d probably want to be as close to the building as possible so you can get to the safety of your vehicle, you don’t want to have to walk through a parking structure. Once you’re inside the mall though, it’s all relatively the same.”