With incidents of mass murders on the rise, Americans are more conscious of security issues than ever. Horrific acts of violence continue to take place at movie theaters, schools, airports, and nightclubs. But this isn’t the only time security issues come to the surface.
After the controversial arrest of a Genele Laird outside the East Towne Mall in Madison, WI the issue of security arose again. The company that owns the mall refuses requests to put up security cameras at common areas on the property.
At this point, not even the exit or entrance of the food court is policed by video surveillance. And Laird’s story begins there after she claims a Taco Bell worker stole her cell phone and then allegedly attacked a worker with a knife.
Crisis Response from the Company Owners
The company’s crisis response following criticisms from the public and Madison officials was a formal email stating, “The safety and comfort of our shoppers, employees and tenants is our top priority… Mall security is a 24/7 365-day program inside and outside the property, some measures are visible and some are not. We do not release details on our program and protocols for obvious reasons.”
This formal response does nothing to address the issue and is almost ironic. After all, if the company truly cares about the safety of the customers frequenting the mall, then why are there no security cameras around watching their backs?
Alder Paul Skidmore, who represents the West Town Mall and surrounding areas, also stated that the refusal to install cameras on the property comes from a belief that the public may begin to view the properties as unsafe – a blatant disregard for public safety, in favor of keeping up appearances.
The laughable result is that this very stance has earned the company its fair share of bad press. Much of the bad PR and tough pressure come from local officials in Madison. The mayor and police chief continue to insist on the addition of cameras. And they have not been quiet about the staunch refusal from the company to cooperate either.
The officials propose that the issue of safety is one the mall needs to take more seriously, especially with concerns of gun violence, and other crimes. They also insist the availability of video surveillance would have provided more objective evidence about the circumstances leading up to the arrest of Laird.
The footage available only shows the actual arrest, which has drawn mixed reviews. On the one hand, Laird seemed to resist the arrest. While, on the other hand, police officers seemed to display brutality towards the young woman; including kicks, punches, and repeated tazing.
Along with the damaging comments from the chief and the mayor, come reports of other acts of crime and violence occurring near the mall. There have been several instances of gunfire outside the Tennessee malls in the past year. There was also one case where someone was shot and injured inside the same mall where Laird was arrested.
This only provides further evidence that the malls owned by the company are indeed unsafe. This is a much more powerful statement coming from the chief of police than a camera installed to keep an eye on things. And as the company refuses to cooperate with the police, the burden of crime weighs heavily on them.
To continue to resist only brings more bad press to the mall and its owners. Over time, this could lead to businesses switching locations, as patrons avoid the shopping plaza to ensure they and their loved ones remain safe.