U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

How Should Malls Address Terrorism?

NCJ Number
Security Management Volume: 47 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2003 Pages: 180-179
Donald W. Story
Date Published
July 2003
2 pages
Security procedures for Israel's malls, the best protected shopping centers in the world, are used as the basis for suggested mall security in America.
Israeli shopping centers are protected by a series of concentric perimeters. Motorized patrols survey the exterior area, including parking lots and outside the mall property, supplemented by some foot patrols. Each vehicle that enters the property is searched. At pedestrian entrances, each person is also subject to a search by officers equipped with explosive-detection technology. Bomb-detection dogs are now also being used. The interior of the mall is patrolled by both uniformed and plainclothes officers. The length of time required to enter the mall property or to gain access to the mall interior is minimal, and customers and employees do not find security procedures to be an inconvenience. All security officers are armed. Given the compulsory military service in Israel, the populace is trained in weapons handling and military discipline; consequently, the recruitment of security officers with military training is common. The Israeli security model for malls, although not directly applicable in the United States, provides some lessons for U.S. malls. These lessons include the provision of a strong visible security, the specifying of conditions or circumstances under which the mall would tighten access controls, and how this is to be achieved. There should also be plans for the introduction of explosives scanning technology and/or bomb dogs. Further, there should also be a plan for the reassignment of tasks under emergency conditions. Deliveries and contractors should be restricted to those times when security personnel are available to verify documentation. Contractors and their material should be similarly checked. Officers should also be trained in how to recognize certain behavior profiles and intercept potential terrorists. Some regular routine security upgrades should include more stringent fire-lane parking enforcement, guarded access to roof hatches, visible waste containers, and closer monitoring of deliveries and contractors.