The holiday season is almost here! As millions of people head to shopping malls and outdoor shopping areas focused on finding the perfect gifts for the holidays, it is important to maintain vigilance because crime does not take a holiday. 

Indoor and outdoor safety is especially important at shopping centers this holiday season. It's never possible to completely eliminate the risk of violence, but being aware of surroundings and sharing safety tips are important things security leaders can do to help protect themselves and retailers against violence while shopping this season.

There should be enough security staff to not only monitor the area, but escort any nervous employees or visitors to their vehicles. 

Monitor restrooms that are tucked away in a back area and keep a special eye out for any unaccompanied children to make sure they get back to their families safely.

Ensure exits are clearly marked. In case of a fire, active shooter, or other emergency, employees and visitors should be able to find the nearest exits quickly.

Don’t let parking lots go unchecked. Keep them well-lit and monitor for suspicious activity. Have signs reminding shoppers of safe practices such as locking their vehicle and returning to a public space if they feel unsafe.

Employees should be thoroughly trained on how to handle emergency situations. In the event of an active shooter situation, remember to “Run, Hide, Fight.”

  • Run: Getting away from the attacker is the top priority. Leave belongings behind and get away.
  • Hide: If evacuation isn’t possible, cover and hide. Find a place to hide out of view of the attacker.
  • Fight: Fight only as a last resort. Attempt to disrupt the attack or disable the attacker. Be aggressive and commit to the actions. Recruit others to ambush the attacker with makeshift weapons like chairs, fire extinguishers, scissors, books, etc. 

Being extra vigilant this holiday season will help keep you safe. Encourage shoppers to report suspicious activity.