Large shopping centers are ranked near the top of potential terrorist targets, but there has been scant investment in additional security and emergency response plans are woefully inadequate, says the Washington, D.C.-based Police Foundation. USA Today says a report funded by the Justice Department said some shopping centers reported 100 percent turnover in security officers each year. Robert Rowe of ASIS International, the largest association of private security managers, said, “The complacency that exists” over the issue is disconcerting.
A survey of 33 state homeland security advisers and 120 security directors large indoor shopping centers found that only 16 percent of malls had increased security-related spending beyond the rate of inflation after Sept. 11. States have done little to bolster safety precautions. Only five of the 33 state homeland security officials surveyed said they had provided additional funding to major shopping centers. More than half of the security directors said their officers had received some terrorism-related training, but 62 percent of the managers said the training was “inadequate.” The report said the “most significant gap in emergency preparedness” was the lack of coordination between mall security and separate security in the anchor stores.