Shoppers are tired of panic in malls and an unhealthy ambiance of stress created by fistfights of teenagers with anger issues instead of an inner drive to serve humankind. See the December 28, 2012 Sacramento Bee article by Mark Glover, “Fight, lockdown may prove costly for Arden Fair merchants,” followed by today’s latest Fox News 40 video, “Shoppers Open Up about Panic at Arden Fair Mall.” There also were complaints the teens pushed shoppers to the ground as they passed by. As shoppers panic and run for the exits, the danger of people, including small children and the elderly being trampled increase. For example, One woman was hurt as shoppers ran for the exits, but police say her injuries were not serious. Three teens were arrested in connection with the fight, according to Fox 40 video news reports.
Signs knocked over during a brawl inside Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento had people mistaking the sound for gunfire, causing panic. The danger of panic is trampling, falling, and injuries. Somebody being pushed to the ground can hit his or her head resulting in a fatal accident or breaking a bone in the case of older adults, a fall can result in being permanently bedridden or earlier mortality. People need to have security close and learn not to panic when they hear a noise. They can proceed to walk slowly to the exits.
Unbridled flight response in people observing brawls
Shoppers are afraid of being shot or otherwise harmed in a public space where the only place to run is the exit. When everybody runs there at once, people get trampled. The question is why were the teenage suspects so angry in a public space that a fist fight broke out? It could have been worse if anyone brandished a weapon, but in this case, it was a fist fight…which resulting in emptying out of the mall and a drastic loss of thousands of shopping dollars that merchants potentially lost on the day after Christmas, traditionally a big shopping day for stores.
On Wednesday, December 26, 2012, around 5:30 in the late afternoon’s early darkness, a fight broke out in the Arden Fair shopping mall’s food court, Sacramento between three teenagers when the place was packed with about 4,000 shoppers. One of the teenagers knocked over a sign during the fist fight, and the sharp sound echoed through the shopping mall, mistaken for the sound of gunfire. Shoppers panicked thinking someone fired a gun, and fled the mall, probably causing merchants to lose thousands of dollars as the mall emptied out. What really occurred was a fist fight between three teenagers.
Arden Fair mall in Sacramento is a 1.1 million-square-foot, 165-plus tenants shopping area that should have been full of shoppers, families with small children looking at the decor a day after Christmas, when bargains were on sale. Instead, analysts speculated that even the comparatively short lockdown of stores at Arden Fair following a false report of gunshots likely added up to a significant sum due to lost shopping time and customers who headed for the exits.
Police said three teenagers ages 19, 18, and 15, were booked on charges of fighting in public. The 15-year-old whose identity was not released because of his age also was booked on fighting charges. The issues is that shoppers no longer feel safe going to malls to look at Christmas decorations, bright lights, and to buy gifts or necessary items people purchase from malls each winter. The reason is that malls are used for places where teenagers gather and fight. And no one knows who’s bringing a gun.
What Arden Fair needs to do most is to make shoppers feel safe. More security is needed, more visibility to the public and more ways to keep troublemakers from making trouble. One solution is more visible patrols by Sacramento police officers and the hiring of more off-duty police officers.
The security staff needs to be visible to shoppers throughout the sprawling shopping complex. A fight usually starts with loud, boisterous voices. That’s the time when security needs to step in, regardless of the age of the loud, angry person, with the exception of crying babies. The point is when security decides someone is acting up and is a teenager or adult, there has to be visibility and help before someone knocks over a sign that makes a loud noise which panicked shoppers mistake for gun fire, which is what happened two days ago in Arden Fair mall.
Shoppers panic at the sound of loud noises in shopping centers
Even though security was at the fight scene in 30 seconds, shoppers panicked if they heard the loud echo of the sign hitting the floor. Hopefully, increased security presence will negate any concerns shoppers might have. Around holiday shopping times, people who go to malls and other types of stores are stressed out from not only the lines and the crowds, but from the constant news in the media of mall shootings and chaos in public spaces where people go to gather for a experience of joy such as not only shopping but also looking at the lights and other decorations of the holiday season.
Notice how much mall chaos decreases when no holiday is coming up, for example between February after Valentine’s Day and September and during the morning and early afternoon hours, usually before kids get out of school. At those times, the usual mall security problem may be shoplifters and drifters or the homeless. But the frightening problem for most shoppers are fights that break out between rivals, usually young males and females who use the malls to socialize, even when they are not shopping.
Sometimes chaos breaks out when new technical, digital items go on sale the first day, or new brands of shoes that teenagers want and lines or long or the store runs out of favorite shoes, video games, or other items collected by young people. You rarely find seniors fighting at malls, unless, of course, you have wandering people suffering from “elder rage” in the early stages of dementia. Most problems stem from fights between young males who fall into arguments.
Crowds may be afraid of clashes and road rage attitudes at public malls as people compete for items on sale
Fear has heightened fears among consumers in general – enough that even an unsubstantiated report of gunshots would send people running for safety. It’s the media and the times. People are sensitive to loud noises that resemble gunshots in public places such as malls, schools, or houses of worship. Seasonal good will has become a time people need to heal. As for security, even the merchants at Arden Fair have had formal training sessions on emergency procedures and appeared to follow those.
What the merchants are trained to do when a fight breaks out or there’s a safety issue is to lock down the store and go to a back room to be safe. Further training is planned. But merchants also need to be trained what to do when there’s a safety issue and you can’t go to a back room to be safe when the safer thing to do is lock the store and leave the mall.
For example in a case where in October of 2010 a mentally disturbed young male started a fire in the Roseville mall. Merchants need to be trained what to do in that type of emergency. See, Fire Rips Through Mall; Arson Suspect’s Mom In ‘Shock – KCRA.com. Merchants and security at malls have to be trained what to do when the store is safe, but the people are acting out, compared to what to do what the mall isn’t safe because an arsonist is creating mayhem. In any case, security has become a health issue in stores, malls, and public places whether it’s a house of worship, school, library, museum, factory, transit depot, or office building. Shoppers now ask which mall is safest during daylight hours?
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