SYRACUSE, NY (NCC News) — With the holiday season approaching, malls across the U.S. expect to see an increase in traffic. This is no different for Destiny USA in Syracuse.
According to Destiny, they are the eighth-largest mall in the United States, hosting 26 million guests every year.
However, with this many people passing through the doors, there is an increased risk of theft, robberies, and other crimes.
“We get incidents of mainly larcenies and then we see things with the juveniles, but that will increase around the holidays because more guests are coming in those winter months,” said Lt. Matthew Malinowski, the public information officer for the Syracuse Police Department.
In the past, Destiny USA faced issues like theft, shootings, robberies, and more.
To help this, the Syracuse Police Department has partnered with Destiny USA to have more officers patrolling the mall during the holiday season.
Normally, there could be anywhere from two to four officers present in the mall during the day. For this new rollout, Lt. Malinowski said there could be anywhere from two to ten officers present.
The officers will be patrolling the mall on battery-powered bikes.
“Usually [the officers] are on foot at the mall. The bikes just make getting around that much quicker,” Malinowski said. “They’re also a little bit more visible, they’re a little bit more agile, and they’re able to cover more ground.”
The Syracuse Police Department is confident that the increase in officers, as well as the bike patrol, will make people feel safer, as well as deter any crimes.
“There is a component of people seeing the police and feeling safer, and there’s also a deterrent effect; if you think you’re going to commit a crime, you’ll know that there are officers that can respond much quicker,” Malinowski added.
This new rollout received mainly positive feedback. Some Syracuse residents feel that increased security is necessary, as long as it is conducted in a fair manner.
“Given the history of some of the issues that they’ve had I think more presence is good as long as the presence is equal and non-discriminatory,” said Syracuse resident Emily Ditre.
While there will be an increase in police presence at the mall, Malinowski is still advising shoppers to be alert and aware of their surroundings to ensure the safety of everyone.
“If you are going to the mall, you have to have the same commonsense safety measures that you would use anywhere,” Malinowski said. “Be aware of your surroundings, lock up your valuables inside your car, out of plain view. Don’t leave your purse anywhere or things exposed. Shop with a friend if possible.”
The biggest piece of advice Malinowski offered was if you see something say something. If you are shopping and something looks out of place, call 9-1-1 and police will quickly respond.