Imagine getting out of your car to go shopping at the mall. You do not plan on staying long; you just have some more Christmas shopping that you need to do. You have your budget, your list of items to buy, and you are in a hurry to get it all done by the time the mall closes. You are proud of yourself for how organized you are. It seems that you have everything planned according to what you need, however, that is not the case. As you walk into the first store on your list, you reach for your wallet and realize that it is gone. You dig in your pockets, but find no trace. While you were in the mall, someone had stolen your wallet. One thing that you did not plan on was to be a victim of a mall crime.
Although malls seem fun and relatively safe, the rate of crime that occurs at malls is growing higher and higher. From credit card theft to sex crimes, the mall is no longer a place that you can stroll through without any worries. The mall is now a haven for crime.
In this argument, we will review the amount of crimes that occur in malls, the people who are targeted, and how the crimes may be prevented.
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Because the rate for crimes in malls seems to be increasing with each year, many people are afraid to go out shopping anymore. Although internet shopping is growing more and more popular, the cost of shipping alone is enough to make you brave your busy mall for those single items that you need. Though the crime rate is high at malls, customers must not forgo their mall experience simply out of fear. On the contrary, they must become more aware of themselves while at the mall and must simply be careful.
The amount of crimes that occur in malls is astounding. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for example, there have been twenty-six assaults at the Monroeville mall within the last two years, eleven burglaries at the Station Square mall, nine robberies at the Monroeville mall, three-hundred-fifty-two thefts at the Monroeville mall, ten sex crimes at the Robinson mall, fifteen drug crimes at the Robinson mall and seven gun crimes at the Monroeville mall.
These numbers are relatively low compared to statistics throughout the country (www.thepittsburghchannel.com). Mall security and store owners both know that the crime rate is higher when the mall has more visitors. Although large crowds often bring in large amounts of money, they also bring in a larger number of those who are up to no good.
A large reason that the crime rate is so high in shopping malls is that, according to www.beverlypd.org, a website designed to prevent mall crime, sixty-five percent of malls are located in high crime areas. Twenty-five percent of malls are located in places that have almost three times more than the national crime risk. Though the statistics are unnerving, knowing who is targeted can help decrease risk of becoming a victim.
When it comes to the question of who can be the victim of a mall crime, the answer would be anyone. There are, however, those who are more likely to be victimized. Consequently, according to the U.S. Department of Justice website about victim information (www.ojp.usdoj.gov), the highest rate of victimization is those who are between the ages of twelve and twenty-four. Although elderly theft seems like it would be the highest, possibly due to media influence, the amount of elderly who have been victims of theft has gone down considerably.
Young people are seen as being less cautious as old people, thus they may be targeted more than anyone else. They are also less likely to report a crime than older people. Although the rate of mall crime is high with the specific age range, there are steps that anyone can practice the next time they visit the mall. Several tips for shoppers were provided by www.kevincoffee.com and www.signonsandiego.com:
1.Never put your purchases down inside of the mall. They can be snatched before you have time to react.
2.Try to put your purchases in one or two bags, so that you are not juggling them to the point that you are not paying attention to your purse or wallet.
3.Before leaving the mall, make sure that you have your keys out so that you do not have to fumble with them as you are walking to the car.
4. Avoid going to the mall at night. Daylight is your best option. However, if it is unavoidable, then before exiting the mall at night, park your car in a well lit area and when you are through shopping ask a security guard to escort you to your car. You do not know who could be lurking nearby.
5.Put your purchases in the trunk of your car. Nothing is more appealing to a thief than a pile of shopping bags that are visible in a car.
While the mall has crime rates that perhaps few people know about, the key to being safe is to know the facts. Everyone deserves the basic right of shopping in the mall without having to worry about being the victim of a crime. It takes effort, however, to gain that right back. If everyone would follow the basic steps above, a large percentage of the mall crime rate could be decreased. Although the percentages may seem like numbers, remember that every number is simply a representation of a person and that the next time, the person could be you.
Read also: Snatch Theft Essay
Coffey, Kevin. “Avoiding Pickpockets.” Detective Kevin Coffey. 2006. 11 Dec. 2006 <http://www.kevincoffee.com/mall/avoiding_pickpockets.htm>.
David, Kristina. “To Make Your Spirits Bright, Avoid Theft.” Sign on Sandiego. 25 Nov. 2006. 11 Dec. 2006
“Office of Justice Programs.” Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2006. 11 Dec. 2006
“Local Mall Crime Rates Increase.” The Pittsburgh Channel. 17 Dec. 2006. 11 Dec. 2006 <http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/team4/10339095/detail.html>.
“Shopping Mall Crime Prevention.” Beverly Pd. 2006. 11 Dec. 2006 <http://www.beverlypd.org/pdf/PRIVATE%20BUSINESS%20SAFETY%20TOPICS/SHOPPING%20MALL%20CRIME%20PREVENTION.pdf>.
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