Al-Shaab terrorist group threatens malls – Should NJ malls strengthen security?
While there’s been no threat by the terrorist group al-Shaab to local malls, authorities at one of New Jersey’s largest malls, the Freehold Raceway Mall, feel pretty confident the license plate readers recently installed will keep customers safe.
How ironic that when the license plate readers were first installed, there was some blowback as to where the information was to be stored and for how long.
Shades of “Snowden.”
However, now you wonder if the plate readers are enough to keep malls safe.
According to Monmouth County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Cynthia Scott, - automated license plate readers that had previously been installed at the Freehold Raceway Mall are used to identify potential terrorism suspects – the information from which is stored at the sheriff’s office.
"It's vital that this type of critical infrastructure is protected by the latest technology in the fight against terrorism." "Infrastructure and large gatherings are attractive targets for terrorism, and, it is imperative that intelligence continues to play a key role in protecting our nation."
In fact, if you were to ask any mall shopper in the state, they’d probably tell you that they don’t want to change their shopping routine of mall shopping even in light of these threats.
Ridgewood resident, Jacques Peay won’t stop shopping at the Garden State Plaza, although the threats might make him look around a bit more – remembering full well the 2013 shooting event that had taken place there.
Neither would neighbor Helen Leonard, who said:
"I don't think that we should hold back on our normal activities." "Frankly, I don't like malls myself, but, of course, I do go. If I wanted something at a mall I would not not go, because some misguided person decided to threaten our system."
However there were those who feel very uncomfortable with the though of malls becoming war zones – such as Stuart Rayvid, a shopper at the Mall at Short Hills, who was frightened by the idea of an attack.
"You're talking about a comfort area. You're not thinking about a war zone. When you think of armed conflict, you think of a war zone... This isn't the war zone."
Places like airports, stadiums, and the like aren’t war zones either – but all have enhanced security – like metal detectors and the like.
We all want to be able to come and go as freely as possible – but with security experts not looking to downplay recent threats mentioning certain malls across the US and Canada – it would seem to be prudent to take the same precautions as though you were attending a sporting event or concert.
Scary, isn’t it? Do you think we really need it – and if so, would it deter you from shopping at a mall?
Should there be metal detectors at mall entrances?