Security at public places increased in response to mass shootings

CHERRY HILL, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Cherry Hill police have increased security at the Cherry Hill Mall and local shopping centers in reaction to back-to-back mass shootings in Ohio and Texas.

Cherry Hill Police Chief Bud Monaghan tells Action News they are in regular contact with the mall, and over the weekend mall management informed police they would add private security officers.

Police added additional personnel to patrol the mall and also assigned additional undercover and plain clothes officers.

"We're hopeful it would prevent them from committing that act because either they're fearful of being apprehended or the officer will be there quick enough to engage the person prior to the event or once the event takes place," Monaghan said.

Monaghan could not say how long they will continue increased patrols for security reasons, but added a big reason for the response is to ease shoppers' anxiety.

"We want to increase the number of police officers people see when they're out shopping. We're trying to give them a sense of calm and reduce any anxiety they might have based on national events," he said.

At The King of Prussia Mall on Monday several shoppers said they saw additional security manning the hallways of the mall and it made them feel more secure. King of Prussia Management did not return our calls for comment.

Judy Kurland of Lansdowne came to KOP to make a return.

"I always get nervous here because it seems like an obvious target. So, I'm glad they're doing that," Kurland said.

Shopper Nick Gatcha said the idea of more security was reassuring.

"You have people there who know how to properly defend and protect so that's definitely reassuring," he said.

Dominique Daley of North Philadelphia said, sadly this is now America's new normal.

"It's the norm now because it's happening so much. I try not to think about it," Daley said.

Melissa Cappelli agreed, saying, "I mean if it happens, it happens. It's a really normal thing you just have to be aware at all times. There's a good possibility of that happening."

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said Monday he was on a call with police chiefs from across the country for a "listen-only" briefing with the FBI.

Ross said frequently churches and businesses reach out to police to ask them to come and teach them how to be prepared if an active shooter situation were to happen, and he has a constant dialogue with the community.

"We are currently reaching out to retailers - something we do pretty regularly - offering site surveys, situations responding to active shooter situations," Ross said.
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