Florida malls and shopping centers are some of the busiest in the U.S. with thousands of people each day seeking relief from Florida’s heat by shopping in air conditioned malls. They are also a prime setting for criminal activity because shoppers are often distracted, talking on the phone, window shopping, or simply not paying attention– making themselves a prime target for criminals.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel analyzed the most violent crimes at South Florida malls over a five year period and found:
- Women are most likely to be targeted, and some robbers prey on mothers with children.
- Most crimes occur in daylight.
- Parking lots and garages are the most dangerous places at a mall, but security is often concentrated inside the mall.
- In four of five cases, surveillance cameras were non-existent, broken, or captured only flawed and useless images.
Negligent security cases at shopping malls contribute to many violent crimes, including purse snatches, armed robbery, carjacking, sexual assault, assault, rape, and kidnapping. Many people are aware of the following mall crimes in Florida that were in the news:
- Eileen Cobb had just parked at Coral Square Mall in Coral Springs when a robber hiding behind two cars surprised her.
- Tiffany Acosta was with her 10-year-old daughter and talking on her cell phone when a young man pulled a gun on her in the parking lot at Pembroke Lakes Mall in Pembroke Pines.
- Ashley Rose Young was seven months pregnant when two teens pulled her from her car, threw her to the ground and stole her purse at Town Center at Boca Raton.
- Murder victims Nancy Bochicchio and her 7-year-old daughter, Joey, were found at Town Center.
- In two cases two years apart at Coral Square, a teen and a young woman were abducted from the parking lot and raped.
- Robbers confronted women with children at least nine times over the five-year period, including two cases at Pembroke Lakes and in two of the cases, the gunman threatened to shoot the children if the women did not comply with his demands.
There are no set standards regulating shopping mall security. Some shopping mall and shopping plaza security measures used to deter violent crimes include: adequate lighting, proper landscape maintenance, monitored video surveillance, dummy video cameras and properly trained and positioned security guards. Fort Lauderdale Police Sgt., Mike Nahum said, “Surveillance cameras provide another key investigative tool. Video in court is unbeatable.” Yet, according to the Sun-Sentinel, 83 percent of South Florida’s most violent mall crimes either aren’t captured on video or the video quality is too poor to be useful.
The attorneys at Wolf & Pravato understand the unfortunate fact that many of South Florida shopping malls are a prime location for criminal activity. If the mall failed to provide adequate security for its shoppers, it could be held liable for any injuries that are sustained as a result of criminal activity.
If you have been injured, physically or emotionally, as a result of a crime that took place at a South Florida shopping mall, contact the shopping mall negligent security attorneys at Wolf & Pravato today for your free, no-obligation consultation. You can also contact us online for a free case evaluation.