After Mall Shooting Scare, Palm Beach County Official Wants Businesses To Beef Up Security

Jan 7, 2013

Credit FlickR/wallyg

A false alarm at a shopping mall has a Palm Beach County commissioner asking if local businesses are doing enough to protect the public.

Two days before Christmas, Commissioner Shelley Vana was shopping at the Boynton Beach Mall with her five-year-old granddaughter when she heard cries of "Get down!"

"I grabbed my granddaughter and pulled her down behind a planter,” says Vana.  “We were outside of the enclosed play area and I could see the people in the play area getting down behind stuff."

The incident that touched off the brief shooting scare turned out to be mall security trying to catch an unarmed shoplifting suspect.

But the episode left Vana shaken -- and she says it highlights the need for local businesses to get serious about their security measures.

"I just think that in light of what's going on around this country it's time to say, ‘Are we doing all we can do to make sure that our malls are safe?’ ”

Vana says Palm Beach County staff will be exploring ways to get heightened security at local businesses.  She says she'd also like the Palm Beach County Sheriff's office to get more involved in the planning and permitting process for new buildings.