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Malls increase security to make sure shoppers are safe

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OKLAHOMA CITY - While millions of Americans are trying to get their shopping done early this year, others are concerned about safety.

According to the National Retail Federation, 45 million Americans headed out to the stores this Thanksgiving.

That's a big increase from the 35 million that went shopping last Thanksgiving.

While Santa is checking wish lists, others are relying on retailers to find the perfect present for the entire family.

However, busy shopping days bring out a lot of thieves looking for their prey.

Donna Berlin, general manager of Penn Square Mall, said, "I am so very, very concerned with you know, have your keys out, be ready to get in your car. There's plenty of time to wrangle, dig to the bottom of your hand bag after you get in your car and lock your doors."

When it comes to security at the mall, Berlin says they look at traffic flow from the past year and add security based on those crowd patterns.

She also noted several extra services you can use to make sure you are safe, including the following:

  • Ask for a police escort to walk you to your car.
  • If your vehicle is far from the entrance, ask them to drive you to your vehicle.
  • Valet parking costs $5 and is an option for shoppers wanting someone to keep an eye out on their vehicle.
  • If you see suspicious activity, report it to mall security.

Berlin said, "We have always had a policy in place that we would do police escorts. In other words, if you're coming early or leaving very late, we're very, very happy to have one of our officers escort you."

Claud Klutts has had run-ins with online scams in year's past.

Now, he says he makes sure he takes every precaution when shopping online or in the stores.

Klutts said, "Just stay with the true companies that you know, put things in your truck and things, keep it out of sight."

If you feel unsafe, Berlin says you shouldn't be shy about speaking up to mall security.

She said, "If you've seen activity that you're a little leery about, please don't hesitate to report it. You might be saving someone else a very unpleasant experience."