Shopping Center Security Best Practices: Five Critical Considerations

Engaging the right security partner is critical for ensuring the safety and security of the public in a shopping center or mall as well as the tenants occupying the stores. The following best practice considerations will help you select the most suitable security services provider for your needs.

 

1. Ability to respond

Consider if the company has the manpower and knowledge to handle emergencies. There continues to be a rise in critical incidents at shopping centers both across the United States and internationally. Do they have additional resources that can be quickly deployed? Will you have access to a state-of-the-art command and control center? Can you reach their command center or senior leadership 24/7?
 

2. Reporting procedures

What process is in place for communication? Can you receive real-time reporting and GPS tracking, or are there other types of technology available to you to stay on top of risk management issues? Also, be sure to review the vendor’s incident reporting procedures. 
 

3. Industry-specific training

Providing security for a retail center is different than handling the security for other types of environments. Do they have shopping center-specific training and does it include topics such as: 

  • Disaster Response

  • Fire Safety Officer (FSO) 

  • Terrorism Awareness

  • Defense Tactics

  • Management of Aggressive Behavior

  • CPR, AED and First Aid

  • CCTV and Command Center Operations 

  • Workplace Violence Prevention and Response

  • Pepper Spray (OCAT) and Handcuffing (PATH) Training

  • Organized Retail Crime (ORC) Awareness/Prevention

 

4. A program that adds value

Consider all of the ways a security partner can enhance your security program from a long-term perspective. Determining the value you will receive from a security partner requires an assessment of how their strategy will reduce risk, limit liability and lower the cost of the entire retail center’s operations – not just the hourly bill rate. While it may be tempting to have an initial-price perspective, a better way to value a spending decision is to look with an eye towards how the provider can help you achieve all of your goals. 
 

5. A customizable and proactive partnership

Before mapping out your security solution, the provider should become knowledgeable about your property, your neighborhood, typical shopping traffic and a host of other important areas so that they can make appropriate recommendations. Their plan should incorporate staffing levels, indoor and outdoor patrols, access points, security procedures, technology integration and other pertinent areas of concern specific to your property.