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Lessons from the Latest Mall Shooting

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There has been another mass shooting at a mall--this time in the Netherlands. The attacker killed six and left 15 injured before killing himself.

The rampage was one of those incidents in which it is clear that the shooter meant to wreak havoc from the start. The attacker wore camouflage gear. He shot someone first in the shopping center's parking lot and then fired a machine gun indiscriminately before running out of ammo. He fired more than 100 rounds. The shooter left a suicide note, but he didn't get into any motives for the mass shooting.

Mall security has been a subject we at Retail Traffic have written about many times. In fact, I just posted our latest feature last week. It explores how some mall owners run coordinated security drills with first responders in order to be as ready as possible in case something terrible does occur.

Incidents like the one in the Netherlands are ones that no mall--no matter how well prepared--can do much about. Individuals intent on killing large numbers of people are always going to be drawn to malls simply because they are mass gathering places.

But that's not to say that the industry shouldn't be prepared. Many of the stories we've written have pointed out shortfalls or places where corners have been cut when it comes to security. One of the biggest issues of all is the fact that mall security guards are poorly paid and the position has an extremely high rate of turnover--close to 100 percent annual.

That means that even when training does take place it has to to be constant to make sure the new faces know what to do. What the mall owners and managers in our latest feature are doing is commendable because it leaves them as prepared as possible for the worst case scenarios. Still, there's always room for improvement.

These incidents cannot be avoided altogether. But we just have to keep doing whatever possible to make sure that when they do take place that mall personnel know what to do. It can make a big difference and save lives.

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Elaine Misonzhnik

Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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