The deadly assault on a luxury Nairobi mall Saturday has raised concerns about security at shopping centers amid fears of copycat violence or other terror attacks, industry officials and other experts tell NBC News. As Kenyan forces struggled to take control of the Westgate mall on the third day of the horrifying attack, U.S. shopping center firms are considering ramping up security measures at thousands of malls across the country. “There’s going to be a response,” said Malachy Kavanagh of the International Council of Shopping Centers, a U.S.-based trade group of mall and shopping center owners.
He said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is likely to coordinate with corporate security chiefs and law enforcement agencies after the attack in Nairobi, which left at least 62 people dead. Officials may increase the police presence at shopping complexes by enlisting off-duty officers to stand guard, Kavanagh said. He added that mall proprietors will be careful to take their cues from consumers, who may be weary from airport security. The fear of many mall proprietors is the possibility of a “copycat attack” after the Nairobi siege by militants from Al Shabaab, a Somali terrorist organization linked to al Qaeda. The group said the assault was retribution for a 2011 push by Kenya into Somalia.