Expert Q&A: Jonathan Lusher on Security at America's Malls

Mall security auditor and expert Jonathan Lusher of IPC International assesses the situation for mall security today


I think these video systems are quite applicable to shopping center parking lots. One concern that we used them for was fraudulent reporting of motor vehicle theft. We had a shopping center with a high rate of car thefts reported, and the facility was near the Mexican border and we knew that cars were disappearing over the border. And because it was a real threat, people were claiming that their cars were stolen from the parking lots when they actually weren't. We put in a strong surveillance system and the cameras watched lots to prevent thieves, but what we also devised was a way to report the car stolen and to give a very detailed report. So John Jones would come to us to report that the car was stolen and would see the details he had to give about the car and where it was parked and how we recorded the lots and often times he would turn around and leave. Other times they would give a description and where it was parked and we could verify whether the car had actually been there. It was a misdemeanor to falsely report a stolen car to the police, but to report it to insurance was a felony. This system help prevent those fraudulent reports and we saw a drop of over 80 percent in cars reported stolen from the parking lot.

We just passed the Friday after Thanksgiving, when Americans rush stores for "door-buster specials". What are tactics for controlling the chaos?

We just make sure everyone takes a deep breath, and we staff up for the holidays. We get the local police involved to control the crowds or provide security inside the malls, and then we just have to stand back and open the doors. Fortunately people have become more educated about these holiday shopping rushes.