Shopping centers, retail establishments and public spaces now must guard against problems at their entrances. Many facilities are on busy streets or front shopping center parking lots. Things can go wrong. Shoppers rushing into a Long Island Walmart minutes after 5 am the day after Thanksgiving last year trampled and killed a temporary employee who was doing work at the store. Retail security executives said that such crowd control situations are not rare and trampling injuries have occurred in previous years when shoppers – left out of stores all night – rush inside when store management opens the doors to people seeking limited number of on-sale products.
“It’s called crowd inertia,” said Tom Conley. “It’s not all that rare. The crowd is outside and everyone pushes forward. Some people even position themselves to be pushed by the crowd to where they want to go.” Conley, president and CEO of The Conley Group, Des Moines, provides security to retail businesses, among others.
In this recent situation, police reports state that, after the store’s opening time, shoppers “physically broke down the doors, knocking (the worker) to the ground” damaging one of the automatic,
Retail security consultant Chuck Sennewald said that retail stores needs to take more care in protecting the entrance. “Too many facilities front a parking lot and people waiting in line are forced into a small space. You have got to look at entrances from a security standpoint – getting people to line up one after the other and protecting the entrance in terms of trained personnel.”
There also are incidents of people accidental or intentionally driving through entrances to shopping malls and retail establishments.
More security and loss prevention managers now use bollards and barriers at the entrances.