NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Recent mall shootings are prompting shopping centers across the country to step-up security as the holiday shopping season approaches.
Mall security teams across the country are working with law enforcement to prepare for possible shootings.
In Columbus, Ohio, security guards practiced using fake guns against a shooter projected on a screen while police in Memphis recently held a simulated mall shooting.
Malachy Kavanagh is a senior vice president at the International Council of Shopping Centers which represents 65,000 malls and centers around the world.
“During the holidays, malls will increase the number of security officers on the floor,” Kavanagh said. “They usually will take supervisors who are not usually in uniform and put them in uniform, but the big thing is that they coordinate with their local police departments.
Shoppers at Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, the site of the most recent shooting scare, want to know what they can do to stay safe.
“It would be good if they did some kind of education, but I don’t know what that would be,” one shopper said.
Newly released surveillance video shows 20-year-old Richard Shoop carrying a rifle as he calmly walked through the Garden State Plaza mall earlier this month.
Terrified shoppers ran for cover as he fired six shots, mostly in the air, before taking his own life. No one else inside the mall was hurt.
With just two weeks before Black Friday, security experts say that shoppers should be aware of their surroundings and know where exits are.
Kavanagh said they can take comfort in knowing security is tighter than ever.
The National Retail Federation says 97 million people are expected to shop on Black Friday and 140 million over Thanksgiving weekend.
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