Homeland Security Issues Terror Warning for NJ Malls and Shopping Centers
TRENTON — New Jersey's malls have been put on alert by the state's Office of Homeland Security to increase security and how to respond to an active shooter.
The OHS alert on Thursday cited "foreign terrorist calls to attack shopping malls in the West, which has been circulating in propaganda since 2015," and the closure of the Limbecker Platz mall in the German city of Essen after German police received a tip that ISIS followers were plotting an attack.
ISIS claimed responsibility for a knife attack at the Crossroads Center shopping mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota, which wounded 20 people in December.
The OHS advice to malls:
- Increase the presence of their security
- Control non-public access points and restricted areas
- Train mall employees and security personnel on active-shooter response
- Educate mall staff and customers on how to detect and report suspicious activity
"If we did receive an alert we would certainly take action," Nick Slein, operations manager at the Freehold Raceway Mall told New Jersey 101.5 without further elaboration.
Messages for Simon Malls, which owns 15 properties in New Jersey, and Westfield Corporation, which owns the Garden State Plaza, the state's largest mall, were not returned. The front office of the Monmouth Mall was closed for Good Friday.
Garden State Plaza was evacuated in December 2013 when Richard Shoops walked into the Paramus mall and fired six shots. 500 members of law enforcement came to mall in response.