NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Shootings and stabbings have been reported in shopping areas in Texas, Minnesota and Washington throughout the last few weeks. Although those are far from northeast Ohio, local mall officials say they are remaining vigilant to help protect their customers.
Cafaro Company Spokesman Joe Bell said those at the Eastwood Mall are doing everything they possibly can to make shoppers’ trips safe. Merchants are trained to use the ALICE strategy, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.
“ALICE training involves people alerting those around them what happened and then finding a way to shelter or to escape or to fight back. It all depends on what the scenario is,” Bell said.
Local law enforcement officers also train in active shooter drills at the mall.
“Any bit of training helps, and we would like to get some more training in because you can never be too prepared for something like that to happen,” said Niles Police Capt. John Marshall.
Besides those safety measures, security officers also walk around the mall and drive around the complex to ensure safety.
“We have other security measures. Many of them, you do not see, and we don’t like to talk about, because we don’t want to tip off the bad guys. But basically, those other security measures are designed to keep tabs on what is happening in and around the mall,” Bell said.
He recommends speaking up if you see something that looks strange. And, he said, always trust your gut.
“Don’t override your instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s because it’s probably not right,” he said.