Security expert: Most malls vulnerable to random gunman - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Security expert: Most malls vulnerable to random gunman

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

It is by far the busiest time of year at Valley malls, but the Christmas chaos and dash for discounts have taken a back seat to shopper safety following Tuesday night's deadly shooting at a Portland mall.

"You think if you do go out, that it's never going to happen to me," said shopper Amanda Carrero. "I was thinking those people were probably thinking the same thing."

Sgt. Buddy Acritelli heads up the mall safety program for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

They have extra deputies cruising malls all over town, in addition to the private security teams inside the malls.

Acritelli said with all the surveillance cameras and security personnel, Valley malls have several layers of protection.

"Not only do you have the human element, but with advances in technology you now have several cameras inside and outside stores," said Acritelli. "Nowadays, you can pick up things that decades ago you would not be able to see."

A Valley mall representative told CBS5 that mall security guards go through extensive training on how to detect a possible threat and what to do about it.

But CBS5 spoke to former Secret Service agent and mall security consultant Joseph LaSorsa, who said that in our free society, there's no real line of defense to stop a mentally unstable person from walking into a mall with a weapon.

"They can upgrade their security systems and surveillance systems, but that's not going to necessarily prevent an individual from doing damage," said LaSorsa. "They'd have to know the individual has a weapon hidden under their clothes and is about to remove it from seclusion. The answer is keeping our mental ill institutionalized."

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