The deadly four-day attack in September by terrorists at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, struck a nerve among global mall patrons. It left many people wondering about mall safety in the United States. Post 9/11, many positive developments driven by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, police and physical security leaders have dramatically improved communication, training and readiness throughout the mall and shopping center industry.
ICSC was instrumental in pulling together mall ownership, corporate security and security service company representatives to collaborate on securing shopping centers and malls across the U.S. One of the many achievements of this committee was the development of a terrorism training program after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Post 9/11, the information sharing among all public and private parties is continual with electronic intelligence updates, regular conference calls and annual meetings which include Department of Homeland Security representation. While in the past, I might have first learned about an act of mall violence on television, today my first reports often arrive from government and private intelligence sources as these events occur.