Store managers say Albany Mall is safe - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Store managers say Albany Mall is safe

October 27, 2004

Albany -- Albany Police investigators have no update on the reported rape at the Albany Mall Friday night. Detectives are still asking people to call if they saw anything suspicious at the Mall last weekend.

The Mall still has no comment, but many stores at the Mall want to assure customers they can feel safe while shopping.

The Albany Mall Sears Operation Manager Jeff Whitaker says he was shocked by the reported rape Friday at the Mall bathroom. Whitaker said "We have a lot of very concerned associates that we know of. This has never really been reported happening before. It heightens the awareness a lot for us here."

 Whitaker says Sears security has been on alert since the report of the rape in the Mall. Their store increased security measures earlier this year. Whitaker said "We have new security systems upgrades, lighting upgrades for the parking lots, a lot more physical presence. It does concern us when something like that happens, so close to us."

Clearing visible in the aisles at Sears, monitors showing security cameras playback. Cameras as also in the parking lot, letting the customers know someone is watching. Whitaker said "All over, we have a brand new camera system, and fortunately for us we are well equipped for the holiday season."

Sears expects their store traffic to triple in the next month, with Christmas shoppers, but  assure customers they are safe.  " Holiday traffic and holiday hours, it's a real concern for us, for our employees and our customers who come into the store."

 The investigation of the reported rape at the Mall continues, but with no arrests. We talked to several store managers at the Mall, and all say their security officers are more vigilante since the reported rape.

 E.R.M.C., the security organization in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that the Albany Mall employs for protection, said they had no comment because of Homeland Security issues.

posted at 4:08 PM by jimw@walb.com

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