Mall Terror, will it make you stay away?
In mid-2015, a threatening video was released by Al-Shabab, a southern Somalia-based group that carried out the 2013 attacks on a Kenyan mall that killed more than 60 people. It said militants should attack American, Canadian and British shopping centers and referenced the Mall of America near Minneapolis. But despite the vague and disturbing forewarnings of terrorists targeting United States shopping malls, shoppers aren’t staying away. But the chief of U.S. Homeland Security is continuing to warn shoppers to be aware of the threats and law enforcement agencies are encouraging anyone entering a mall to keep their eyes open as usual.
However, the International Council of Shopping Centers, a New York-based trade association released a statement saying the safety of consumers and employees is the industry’s top priority. The statement goes on and elaborates by stating: “When it comes to protecting and securing a shopping center, many factors are taken into consideration and security plans and procedures are customized to each center’s unique characteristics,” the statement said. “The shopping center industry will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to ensure that shopping centers are safe and comfortable environments in which to shop.”
But mall safety continues to mean uniformed and non-uniformed officers, video cameras and managers of giant shopping malls from New Jersey to San Diego are using those resources to stay alert for terrorist threats. They are also heightened security and are coordinating with law enforcement after the release of a Somali extremist group video encouraging deadly attacks. However, in Florida, law enforcement agencies for years has conducted active shooter and anti-terror drills at its malls.
But are these threat really credible or just a scare tactic? Let’s ask those who were connected to an attack that killed over 60 people at a Kenyan mall two years ago. But according to the United States Department of Homeland Security, they are unaware of any credible terrorist plots against shopping centers on United States’ soil. But what about the persistent threat of a “lone wolf” attack? Tell us your thoughts about your next shopping spree? But if you decide to press on shop, here are some tips obtained from the Secrets of Survival website for how to survive an attack at a shopping mall.
First, consider doing your shopping outside the mall. If you truly have to go to the mall, then choose days and times that a terror attack is least likely to occur such as a Sunday evening at 8:00 p.m. especially, since it’s presumed that a terrorist would pick a day and time that the most shoppers are likely to be at the mall.
Second, scan shoppers and look for people that fit either the description of an Islamic radical (yes, you’ll be “profiling”, though it’s not always effective, some may not look the traditional part of Islamic radical), or fit the description of a young hate-filled American from counter-culture or an “anarchist.” But you’re not sure what they look like? A lot of them are the same protesters that show up in American cities and break windows, destroy cars, assault cops and pedestrians. But if you see a handful of people in the mall, matching a similar description, they may all be cohorts, even if they’re not in close proximity to each other. If a planned attack is going to come together, they may enter the mall from different doors, and plan to converge on centers of activity in the mall. Therefore, stay alert and shop on!
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