Westfield Valley Fair

608 words | 3 page(s)

Westfield Valley Fair is a luxurious shopping mall located in the heart of Silicon Valley. It features boutiques, stores, and dining establishments. You can find everything from lingerie to outwear. It is one of the most productive shopping centers in the USA. It has 261 retail stores, 15 million customers annually, 7,200 car parking spaces and makes $920,000,000 total annual retail sales (Westfield, 2016).

In terms of security, the first thing you notice is that there are no guards, though I did notice police officers patrolling nearby during my visit but it could just be a coincidence. The next thing you notice are a couple of large bar structures placed in front of the glass entrance. The bars look like they could keep an armored truck from driving through, though this is standard. Once inside the premises, there are no visible signs of any security cameras on the wall or ceilings neither do you encounter any guards patrolling the inside of the mall. Though after walking into the stores I noticed signs of hidden cameras in each store; almost in all angles. With the multiple entrances, webs of corridors and numerous parkings. it is the perfect design for an assailant due to the endless opportunities for cover.

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It was to my surprise that a shopping mall of this stature did not have as much security as I expected especially due to the standard of living of the people around the area. I am not implying that there is no security of any sort at all. I am simply saying that they may not be visible to the normal eye. Only a professional may be able to spot them. For instance, in the stores, there are clear signs that there are cameras everywhere, but one cannot easily spot or pinpoint their exact locations with ease. Another factor is that strategies that law enforcers use such as armed guards, metal detectors, and bag screen often discourages customers (Dempsey, 2010). Even though these strategies are only implemented for everyone’s safety. There is something about security checks that bothers people.

That is why most malls these days are taking a subtle approach by using less visible measures to ensure security. They want the customers to feel safe and having guards walking around with machine guns does not help. In fact, it only manages to do the opposite (Sennewald & Christman, 2011). Many malls have chosen this approach mainly because of the stiff opposition they are facing from the introduction of online stores. If customers feel threatened they will choose the option of shopping from home. Security measures are very expensive to maintain and improve especially the subtle ones. It costs the malls hundreds and thousands of dollars to install and maintain (Dempsey, 2010). There are also dangers in too much surveillance. When customers are monitored all the time, private businesses may use this footage to profile customers.

With all these factors in mind, there is only one suggestion for improvement I have for Westfield Valley Fair; training. Westfield Valley Fair mall should train all their staff in multiple scenarios of attacks. They should invite emergency response teams to come speak to their staff and routinely practice drills until it becomes second nature, during times of emergency most people are unable to make wise decisions (Sleeman, 2016). That is why the drill has to be cemented in the staff’s minds so that when the situation arises they act rather than have to think about their next move, just do. This is a great measure because rather than staff waiting for external help to arrive they can evacuate others, themselves or lock doors and take shelter. This way half the job is already done.

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