Security Tightens At Malls in Fla.

Malls in Altamonte Springs use incident in Omaha to sharpen their own security


ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. --

Local shoppers said they couldn't help but think about a shooting spree at a mall in Nebraska on Wednesday as they were out buying their holiday gifts.

The Altamonte Mall is owned by the same company as the Westroads Mall in Omaha where the shootings happened. Officials with General Growth Properties said the safety of shoppers and employees is their top priority.

Altamonte Springs police have a substation at the Altamonte Mall, and officers regularly are on patrol there.

The Mall at Millenia also has a sophisticated security system, with 48 cameras watching what happens inside and outside. But many shoppers said they worry about whether it's enough.

"This time of year, it's awful. You go to the mall and don't come back. It's very sad," shopper Melissa Danek said.

"Drastic measures have to be taken. There's got to be more security, possibly cops with armed weapons," shopper Roger Walton said.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office has at least three deputies at Florida Mall. Deputies are trained to take out an active gunman without waiting for a SWAT team. Many deputies on patrol are armed with M-16 military rifles in their vehicles.

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