The Mall that Cried Wolf

“They were screaming, ‘We have to get in the back, there’s a shooter,’ ” said one mom. -KHOU-11

Willowbrook Mall in Houston, TX was one of my first malls, at the cloudy to recall age of two.  I remember waffle fries and I remember lunches at Chelsea Street.  I remember the screaming of the 80’s with zig zagged kaleidoscopic neon lights resonating within the clear brick tiles lining the wall.  That’s why this story initially caught my attention.

This week there was a false alarm at the Willowbrook Mall of an active shooter in the mall.  The manager of the Build-A-Bear dropped the gates and hollered to the customers to pile into the stockroom immediately upon receiving the alert.

It was a false alarm, or perhaps better worded, the wrong alarm.  Instead it was supposed to be an alert of a ‘smash and grab’ robbery in one of the jewelry shops.

At first my thoughts were on the glowing glass bricks and wondering if they were still in the walls of the mall, and then on the crazy frantic state the mall must have been in.  My thoughts progressed to the employees of the mall and how wonderful for them to be knowledgable of those alerts, and performing the protocol without any further prompting.  Which then led me to think, I don’t remember having any communication of alerts from the privately owned or CBL run malls I worked in.  In fact as shared in last thursday’s blog, I had pretty much no communication set up between myself and security ever when it came to protocol.

This week, if you work in the mall (sales associate, fry cook, management, or custodian), please contact your security office and ask if they have any alerts they send out.  If you already have a list call and double check that your information is correct.  Ask them what the proper protocol is, and how the alerts will be administered.  Create a clear easy to read bulletin list and call a team meeting to review the list.  Post the list in the back room (or behind the cash wrap out of sight of customers) in a prevalent spot so that the information is fresh on everyones minds daily.

While safety is on our mind, here is one of my first blogs ever written: 10 Tips to Personal Safety in Retail

The full news story on KHOU

Picture Credit: From the NW Houston Chamber of Commerce

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