The security standards for shopping malls differ significantly from parking garages and residential structures. Managing the flow of shoppers across the mall is a challenging job for the shopping mall administrator. Similarly, ensuring that visitors have wonderful shopping experiences is crucial. Shopping centre security challenges do not just affect the visitors; they equally affect the shopping mall vendors.
It’s essential to identify the primary shopping centre security issues that the shopping centre is likely to experience in its everyday operations. It is then important to plan the safety arrangements for shopping centres to prevent and overcome shopping centre security problems.
In Australia, millions of shoppers visit shopping malls each year. With so many people in, shopping centre security challenges are of utmost and obvious. Security concerns and plans are important to allow the visitors to enjoy their shopping experiences and make them feel safe during their visits to shopping centres. Formulating security plans and ensuring that visitors and staff are kept safe is very crucial. Therefore, it is first important to identify shopping centere security challenges.
Here are 7 shopping centre security challenges that need serious concern.
1. Fire – A major shopping centre security challenge
At the best times, fires can be life-threatening, but in places like shopping centres, where thousands of people gather together, the consequences can be terrible. As a result, security guards and sprinkle systems are on hand to conduct regular assessments of places where fires may take place. They have the skills to carry out an evacuation plan and get people to safety if a small fire breaks out. As many people gather in a shopping centre, it is difficult to control the crowd resulting in a tough evacuation process. Therefore, fire is one of the shopping centre security challenges which is hard to control.
There is a significant likelihood of confrontations and clashes between customers in public venues such as shopping centres. Indeed, the risk is especially great during big sales like Black Friday, when a large crowd of people is anxious to grab deals on almost everything on offer. When the stocks on offers are limited, and customers start hoarding the deals, chances of conflict are high. Therefore, confrontations are considered to be another shopping centre security problem.
3. Missing of children
One of the worst feelings in the world is exploring around the shopping centres and discovering that their child has vanished. Children may easily get distracted as shopping centres usually have numerous attractions to gain children’s attention. For instance, they may run to see any glittery toys or arcade games in the shopping centres and get missed. In many cases, they are found within a few heartfelt minutes. However, children go missing or are even stolen in rare situations. Many incidents are heard regarding missed children being found dead, and sometimes they are also used for blackmailing purposes. With all these, we cannot deny the fact that missing children is another major shopping centre security issue.
4. Unauthorized Entry
Shopping centres have multiple entrances for shoppers, shop owners, employees, and stock deliveries. Furthermore, individuals carry items of various sizes in and out at all hours of the day and night. This makes it difficult to keep track of who is entering and exiting the premises. It cannot be assured that the entrance for stock delivery is used only by the related people. Sometimes, unauthorized people get into the premises from the specific entrances, increasing crime, leading to shopping centre security issues.
Theft is one of the frequently occurring shopping centre security problems. Large quantities of high-priced commodities are frequently found at shopping malls, making them vulnerable to theft. Theft can become a huge problem in retail spaces and shopping malls if there isn’t a well-thought-out mall security mechanism in place. According to one of the industry associations, $68.9 billion worth of items were stolen from stores in 2019. This is again peaked due to pandemics. Many people lost their jobs and suffered to continue their daily life. Thus theft has become a tool for them to earn their livelihood. Theft has become more visible, aggressive, and violent, forcing an industry already bust-up by pandemic lockdowns.
6. Vehicles and parking lot Crimes
Shopping centres receive hundreds of visitors each day, which is why they have parking lots on the outside in a corner or in the basement. Any parking facility with a significant number of vehicles faces the risk of vehicle theft and damage. Vehicles are prone to break-ins and theft when parking spaces are not properly monitored. Additionally, the quiet parking spaces in the shopping malls have increased crime, such as women’s harassment in a parking lot, shootings, bullying, etc. Thus, it is one of the security challenges of the shopping centre.
Another biggest shopping centre security issue is vandalism. Shopping malls are public spaces where many people, including locals and internationals, visit on an everyday basis. Young people are usually attracted to the malls and are more prone to vandalize because of their aggression or over-excitement at this age. The risk of vandalism grows as the number of persons who have access to the malls grows.
It is obvious that the increased crowd in malls leads to shopping centres’ security challenges. It cannot be denied that all the shopping centre around the world are liable to have some issues and incidents to some extent daily. Although many studies have suggested that shopping centres are one of the safest places to visit, some challenges lie. Identifying the issues and implementing them is crucial to coop with shopping centre security issues.