Don’t expect security checkpoints at local malls

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The U.S. government says an extremist group plans to attack The Mall of America, which has about 40 million annual visitors. That’s a far cry from the number of shoppers in the Mahoning Valley, but mall officials have thought about this possibility for years. John Veauthier has the story.

Despite news that terrorists may target malls, shoppers at Eastwood Mall in Niles won’t face security checkpoints at entrances. Mall officials said shoppers overwhelmingly reject the idea of being screened before being able to shop. Brittany Wenner/TheNewsOutlet.org

Despite news that terrorists may target malls, shoppers at Eastwood Mall in Niles won’t face security checkpoints at entrances. Mall officials said shoppers overwhelmingly reject the idea of being screened before being able to shop. Brittany Wenner/TheNewsOutlet.org

JOHN VEAUTHIER: With hundreds of shoppers passing through their doors, how can mall officials know who is in danger – and who is dangerous?

JOE BELL: “We started thinking about the potential threats to our shopping malls a long time ago, long before there was anybody called ISIS out there.”

VEAUTHIER: That’s Joe Bell of the Eastwood Mall. He’s referring to the recent news that terrorists plan to target malls in America. Some wonder if shopping centers will need security checkpoints at their doors?

BELL: “That’s something that came up right after the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks. There were people in the industry, who started asking that question. And overwhelmingly both the people inside the industry and shoppers reacted by saying, ‘No.’”

VEAUTHIER: “Malls don’t want to ask shoppers to remove their shoes before they can come in to buy more shoes. Bell says current security standards, while effective, might need to be addressed.”

BELL: “It’s part of the discussion now. To what extent are we going to need to train people to go the extra mile, to be more than just security officers?”

For a complete transcript, visit TheNewsOutlet.org.