Terrorists call for attack on shopping centers

Discussion
Feb 24, 2015

A Somalia-based terrorist group, al-Shabab, is urging its sympathizers to carry out attacks on shopping centers in the U.S., Canada and Europe. The Mall of America and the West Edmonton Mall were two North American facilities specifically named in a video released by the group, which has been linked to al-Qaeda.

While a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said the agency is not aware of any "specific, credible plot against the Mall of America," the Department secretary called on the public to be "vigilant" in an interview on "Meet The Press" on Sunday.

Government sources do not appear to believe al-Shabab has the operational capabilities to carry out an attack in the U.S. similar to that at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi in 2013, which killed 67 people. Security experts believe it is more likely that the terrorist group is seeking to inspire "lone wolf" sympathizers to carry out attacks similar to what has happened in Australia, Denmark and France in recent months.

The Mall of America, according to reports, has upped its security level following the release of the video. The mall’s management and merchants report business continues to go on as usual and there is no sign of a drop in customer traffic despite the threat.

The shopping center issued a statement claiming it had "implemented extra security precautions" even if they were not noticeable to those visiting the mall. "The safety and security of our guests, employees and tenants remains our top priority," the statement read.

Do you see shopping center and retail store security in the U.S. changing as a result of threats from terrorist groups and their sympathizers? Will increased security measures at shopping centers be something that American shoppers support?

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11 Comments on "Terrorists call for attack on shopping centers"


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Bob Phibbs
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Ever since 9/11 I’ve thought it’s just a matter of time before malls are targeted. There is no understatement of the gravity of terrorists calling out malls by name.

Malls will need to show they are safe, not just reassure shoppers there is nothing to worry about.

Our very way of life is being targeted.

Warren Thayer
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

I’d be surprised if much is done beyond some window dressing. Budgets aren’t there to do a whole lot with increased security. The public will support the idea until it comes time to pay for it with increased taxes. You know where that will go. Of course, if/when we get a serious attack on our home turf, there will be support to spend money.

Tom Redd
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

As Bob Phibbs (The Doctor) stated, “our very way of life is being targeted.” I am hoping that malls and all shopping areas step up video surveillance and also use other tools (bomb detectors, etc.) to keep shoppers safe.

People need to know they are safe to shop. We have the technology so let’s leverage it. We are AMERICA and need to support freedom and not live in fear. You mess with us then you got another thing comin’. Retailers in the U.S. do not like things that interrupt the buyer!

Mark Heckman
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

If malls didn’t have enough trouble staying relevant in this new age of online shopping, now the jihadists are adding more reasons for shoppers to stay home. As a patriot, I would now be more inclined to shop at a mall if for no other reason than pure defiance.

With the flag waving out of the way, I would surmise that shoppers will be relieved to see additional security as long as they don’t have to be strip-searched or wanded as they enter the mall or stores. If shoppers are not overly inconvenienced, they should be undeterred in their shopping patterns. Additionally, for many shopping malls have become an important social experience, not just a shopping trip. Deterring these shoppers from their routines and social rituals will be difficult, even if violent threats persist.

Again, as an example of success, we should look to the Israelis who have learned to live in freedom while being ever vigilant. That is now the world we all live in, like it or not.

Adrian Weidmann
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

The Mall of America has been a suspected target since 9/11 and as such has been very proactive in its preventive security measures behind the scenes. Those of us that live here in Minneapolis are aware that the Mall of America symbolizes many of the values of our society that these terrorists wish to bring down. I would hope that recent world events suggest an even more clear and present danger and as such an increased vigilance is necessary and expected.

People want to be safe and go about their business without threats. Americans, shoppers included, will certainly welcome the increased visibility and presence of security. Additionally, it is our responsibility to be more observant and vigilant of suspicious behavior and mindful of one another. We must all be mindful that we are all part of a larger security net.

Phil Rubin
Guest
Phil Rubin
7 years 3 months ago

Threats of terrorism in the U.S., whether explicit or otherwise, are nothing new and as we have known since 9/11, there are targets aplenty. As “great” as online shopping is, it’s not going to replace physical retail, even with such threats. At the same time, increased security at shopping centers—just like at airports, train stations, government facilities, football games, schools, synagogues and other public venues—is going to be dialed up. There are plenty of threats to go around and consumers will adapt when shopping just as they have around these other activities.

Tony Orlando
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

The terrorists have become very good at trying to scare us into total panic mode, and it is sad how we have to worry about every move we make today. I believe that something is going to happen, as we simply cannot control security in every mall or train station, but we must go on with our lives each day, living free to show others that we are not afraid.
Traveling to Europe is scary, but again, who knows when and where anything will happen, and it is important to remain vigilant without hiding in our basements, and right now our freedoms are being threatened like never before. I am not a security expert, but I hope and pray that those who protect us can stand firm, and show those who harm us will be dealt with severely, as this can not be tolerated. We are all Americans, and need to stand as one.

RIchard Hernandez
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Regardless of the threat, I think we should always be vigilant wherever we go whether it’s near our homes or in another city or country. I like to think that those that protect us (here in the US) would take these threats seriously and be proactive about them. I think it can be done without being an over-alarming situation.

Gordon Arnold
Guest
7 years 3 months ago
Retailers and their patrons put up with the lion’s share of the annual tally for personal assaults, muggings, automobile theft, and, of course, store theft as we speak. The present day cost for all of this is measured in high double digit billions of dollars. The only ones aware of these numbers and the current climb rate are retail executives and the government. Speaking out about this would have a negative impact on declining brick and mortar traffic so retailers are forced to seek assistance from the government(s) they pay for very candidly. So this leaves the bulk of making an appropriate response to those with greater influences as members of the government workforce. Putting our hundreds of police forces in places where they would serve to apprehend and deter these crimes will take them off the front line of traffic violations where they are hot on the heals of getting their share of revenue from the beleaguered taxpayers. While this latest threat is extremely serious, I am told that it is most likely out of… Read more »
Steve Montgomery
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

By targeting malls, the terrorists are indicating no one is safe, not even suburbanites. By threatening the malls, they hope to cause widespread fear. We have already done something (albeit likely not enough) to harden tourist and high profile targets. They know we cannot provide the level of protection to ensure no attacks at every mall.

Shoppers may resent it until an attack occurs. Then they will demand it.

Kai Clarke
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Yes, we will see enhanced security become a standard in shopping centers and retail. Shoppers will support this, as America continues to come together to ensure that our way of life and freedoms are protected. We will also see a continued shift to ecommerce, as retailers recognize the communications opportunities of the Internet and how it impacts pricing, availability, and selection.

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