excerpted from June 2001 issue of Shopping Center World magazine. by Carol Badaracco Padgett
It may be a cliché, but we live in a dangerous world. Yet, thanks to advanced security products and services, the mall does not have to be a daunting environment. Today's shopping centers are often heavily equipped with the latest in digital audio and video surveillance, CCTV, trained security guards, lighting and other crime deterrents.
What's in it for owners? Loss prevention, protection from liability, and safer, happier customers. For shoppers? The peace of mind and convenience of knowing that if help is needed, someone can be there in seconds. Few would argue that anything is more important than security, particularly in a crowded public area...
Making the call
Emergency call boxes are a mainstay in shopping center security, allowing shoppers to request help by simply picking up the receiver. Today's call box technology is increasingly more sophisticated to keep shoppers even more secure...
Chicago-based Talkaphone manufactures emergency call box systems. "We've provided these security-related and customer service-related products for more than 65 years," says Samuel Shanes, executive vice president.
"The emergency phone products began when the Americans with Disabilities Act was in the process of working its way through Congress so we brought out these phones to be ADA-compliant," he says. "A big part of what we're providing is customer service. Shoppers may not be able to find their cars, or they may have flat tires. Our products let customers know you care, which gives them a sense of security and safety in your center."
Talkaphone also offers system enhancements that allow clients to integrate CCTV and audio systems to call boxes. In addition, it offers a computer package that automatically calls up different boxes to verify that they are in working order with lines intact. Lenox Mall in Atlanta is one recent client to install this package.
"We provide consulting that takes the form of everything from security surveys to design work with architects and engineers - to design shopping centers with the conception of safety."
"Different malls have different needs," Shanes says. "Some use our stand-alone call boxes with blue light strobes on top. You just push the button, it strobes, and automatically calls security and identifies where you are."
...The combination of surveillance cameras, security personnel, call systems and lighting all can help to deter crime and ensure the security of mall shoppers and personnel. A shopping center with a reputation for repeat crimes such as muggings or car thefts must work very hard to overcome that reputation, grounded or not. Security measures can help to prevent crimes from occurring in the first place, and ensure that a shopping mall is a safe place where people can spend their time without worry.
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