Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Happy shopping, and watch out for mall shootings


mall-shooting.jpg    The holidays are right around the corner, and the National Retail Federation has visions of tinsel, mistletoe and mall shootings on their mind.
    The NRF and International Council of Shopping Centers on Monday released guidelines to help retailers prepare for shooting incidents at shopping malls and retail stores.
    A joint effort with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and retailers, the plan deals with an “active shooter,” or individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.
    “We live in a dangerous world and the stakes keep getting higher,” say the guidelines.
         The guidelines warn that a shooter may be a troubled current or former employee, or related to an associate with domestic problems.  
    They also encourage employees to create an escape plan and be aware that law enforcement first responders may show up in bulletproof vests and Kevlar helmets and be carrying rifles, shotguns or handguns, and might use pepper spray.  
    Only as a last resort when your life is in danger, the guidelines say, “Attempt to incapacitate the active shooter. Act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter.”  

    Some facts of note:
    – In 100 percent of the shootings the suspect was male.
    – In over 71 percent of the incidents, the shooter was between the ages of 15-25, with 20 percent ages 50-60.
    – In 24 percent of the shootings, the shooter committed suicide before police were able to respond.
     – Active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes.    

     From 2004 through 2008 there were 17 shooting incidents at U.S. shopping malls and retail stores, with 34 killed and 33 wounded, according to the NRF.