Friday, March 31, 2017

Troubling trend of crimes in Charlotte malls

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. March 31 2017 -- Tens of thousands of shoppers hit the Charlotte malls each year and hundreds of them experience crime during that experience.
One Charlotte father is so worried about the uptick in crime, he won’t even shop at some malls anymore.
“I noticed immediately, the police presence was everywhere. Not just mall security but CMPD,” said the father.
During a recent visit at the Northlake Mall, he says it was crystal clear to him, the mall was changing and not necessarily for the better.
“I won't go back. Why? Just for the pure presence of how I felt being uncomfortable, the past issues guns being fired and different situations,” the man said.
NBC Charlotte wanted to know if in fact, crime is a problem at local malls and if so, just how bad is it.
We've reported on the Christmas Eve Shooting at the Northlake Mall in 2015. Over at the SouthPark Mall this year, thieves stole items from Victoria's Secret totaling $3,000.
In December 2016, a 64-year-old woman says she was sexually assaulted while receiving a spa treatment at SouthPark Mall.
NBC Charlotte requested hundreds of crime statistics to analyze the numbers to see if in fact crime is up. During 2015 the SouthPark Mall saw dozens of calls for service. More than 300 for Larceny, 67 for fraud and 20 for vandalism.
In 2016, the number of Larceny calls jumped to 330, fraud spiked to 90 but vandalism dropped to 11. There was one armed robbery report in 2015 and 2 in 2016.
At the Northlake Mall, CMPD crime reports indicate it is more violent there. With crimes in 2015 that included aggravated assault with a gun or weapon and one homicide on Christmas Eve. In 2016, there were no murders but a 400 percent jump in armed robbery calls for service from once in 2015 to five incidents in 2016.
A spokesperson for the Northlake Mall sent NBC Charlotte a statement about mall security.
 The safety of our guests, tenants and employees is our top priority. We work closely with our partners in local, state and federal law enforcement to monitor events in the surrounding neighborhood.
The mall, it tenants and area businesses also take part in ongoing training for a variety of incidents. If one occurs, we respond with local authorities following procedures that are designed for the safety of our guests, tenants and employees.While our security plans are not publicized, teams are onsite 24/7. We have implemented additional measures, some of which are visible and others that are behind the scenes.
Meanwhile, for shoppers like the father we spoke with-- he says picking the mall and the time of day are key to staying safe.

“If the same store is in a different location at a different mall," He says. "I would choose that location over Northlake, easily. Just out of sheer safety.”

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