Mall Security: Innovations and Collaboration to Protect Shoppers

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This article was previously published by Loss Prevention Magazine.

When it comes to mall security, retail tenants, employees, shoppers, and food court patrons all need to feel safe and welcome both in the mall and in the parking lot or they may not return. What’s worse, an incident could prevent new customers from shopping at the facility.

The deadly four-day attack in 2013 by terrorists at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, struck a nerve among global mall patrons. It left many people wondering about mall safety in the United States. Post 9/11, developments driven by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, police, and physical security leaders have dramatically improved communication, training, and readiness throughout the mall and shopping center industry.

National Incident Management System (NIMS) Compliant

Ensuring that all security professionals employed in retail mall settings are NIMS compliant is essential. What does NIMS compliancy mean? It specifies the specific and comprehensive National Integration Center (NIC) and stakeholder responsibilities and activities necessary for developing, maintaining, and sustaining NIMS training. This program is the gold-standard in our industry that integrates FEMA coursework offered through the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) with United States Fire Administration (USFA) training.

Security programs at malls need to be customized to work together to manage potential threats at the ground level and coordinate workforce deployment based on actionable intelligence and relevant risk at each property. Through an integrated approach to enterprise security, it is important to create the safest, most secure environments that provide shopper peace of mind which address the following items:

  • Protects facilities access points with connected visitor management technologies, access control systems and video monitoring solutions.
  • Responds to incidents in real-time with a workforce management platform that tracks and optimizes your security team’s movements to proactive mitigate incidents and facilitate rapid response.
  • Elevates your brand with advanced security intelligence and technology solutions that augment physical security services.
  • Achieves better insight into risk with improved command center operations with Global Security Operating Services and threat intelligence platforms.
  • Ensures business continuity, prepares for and responds to threats toward people and infrastructure, including workplace violence and active shooter preparedness training and protocols with professional emergency response planning.

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Ty Richmond is President, Allied Universal® Risk Advisory & Consulting Services and International. Allied Universal, a leading security and facility services company in North America with more than 235,000 employees and revenues over $8.5 billion, provides unparalleled security services and technology solutions. He can be reached at