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  • Question concerning mall security

    Suppose you are a security officer at a shoping mall, and a merchant tells you that a suspect stole something out of his/her store. Then, the suspect runs past with a bag in his hand. Should you wait for the suspect to leave the store to arrest him, or should you arrest him in the store?

  • #2
    Again, you should follow your California Powers of Arrest training, which refers you to company policy.
    Some Kind of Commando Leader

    "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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    • #3
      Most Stores in a mall rent from Mall Management if I'm correct. I know that at some Malls where I live the Security Officers have no jurisdiction in the actual stores. They only enforce the mall common areas, employee areas, and parking lots - The Local PD has the initial territory in the actual stores.

      If a suspected thief leaves a store and is coming through the mall Security can make attempts to stop the individual which includes the parking lots but once they leave the property security no longer has power.

      Of course each individual case is diffrent but I believe at least in NJ anyway it depends on the mall management how much authority their security department has.

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      • #4
        That's going to be everywhere, actually. The security company enters into a contract with the mall's management company. Whatever the mall management company has ownership of, the security force has "agent of the owner" powers.

        Now, depending on the state, if someone commits a criminal offense that you can make a citizen's arrest for... That power is inherent in all citizens, and there are no "jurisdictional boundries" that the citizen's arrest power magically stops. So, if someone walks off property, you can still arrest them in fresh pursuit... (since you made an immediate arrest and the person began to resist by flight)

        As far as police, they do not enter into the "authority" of mall vs. store security, their jurisdiction is the entire city/state/county/etc. Mall security has a "jurisdictional boundry" only because their agent of the owner status works on the owner's property. If they have contracts in place with the tenant stores, then their "jurisdictional boundry" includes those tenant stores as permission to act as agent of the store is given.

        A good example of this is homeowner associations. Security personnel have no agent of the owner status on the public street, but do on every lawn and common element, including private drives throughout the association's property. The homeowner owns the lawn, but through the association's covenant of documents gives the security company the authority to act as his agent for the purposes of protecting his property.
        Some Kind of Commando Leader

        "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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        • #5
          At the mall that I work at we had to revise our SOP about shoplifting arrests. Originally we made all the arrest for any criminal offense. The problem that we ran into is that some of our Officers made the arrest then after returning to the store loss prevention person, we found out that they did not want to prosucute. This would leave us liable for a wrongful arrest suit. This is because it was a mistedminor that did not occur in our presence. I also have to state that we have arrest authority granted to us by the state, because we are either sworn Special Conservators of the Peace (Special Police) or Armed Security Officers, who have arrest authority.
          Keeping the parking lots safe, hallways moving and the Chik Fil A busy.

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          • #6
            You have misdemeanor arrest based on probable cause? I would revise any arrest statute to make felony on probable cause and misdemeanor in presence unless you 1) have authority to make PC misd. arrest, 2) have someone willing to swear out a statement, then 3) deposition the person right there.
            Some Kind of Commando Leader

            "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

            Comment


            • #7
              Unless you observed the shoplift, you should not arrest, inside or outside the store. You are open to to much liability. You may assist the manager in making the arrest, but be sure that they will follow through. In CA it is not a shoplift until the subject leaves the store, therfore, even if you did observe the act, do not arrest until the subject has left the store.

              In any case, stay within company policy. If there isn't one, do nothing but Observe & Report.
              "Gun control, the theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists. " Author Unknown

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Andy Taylor
                Unless you observed the shoplift, you should not arrest, inside or outside the store. You are open to to much liability. You may assist the manager in making the arrest, but be sure that they will follow through. In CA it is not a shoplift until the subject leaves the store, therfore, even if you did observe the act, do not arrest until the subject has left the store.

                In any case, stay within company policy. If there isn't one, do nothing but Observe & Report.
                Keep in mind, he's technically not a security officer, but a police officer. (Special Conservator of the Peace,) which means he can't just observe and report, he is a sworn special LEO.
                Some Kind of Commando Leader

                "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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                • #9
                  Actually I am an armed Security Officer, In Virginia this means that I have been given the same arrest authority as a sworn officer. The only difference is that I am trained in weapons handleing and arrest authority. But the only two mideminors that I can arrest for without personally witnessing them are theft, and motor vehical violations. The reason fo the motor vehical violation enforcement is so that I can arrest or write summons on an individual for traffic accident related offences, such as following too closely and reckless driving. All the arrests made in abesntia of my presence are based on the witnesses willingness to press charges. No Charges pressed= no arrest.
                  Keeping the parking lots safe, hallways moving and the Chik Fil A busy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The best policy here is , in my mind, the one we used when I worked at the mall in Sacramento. If a situation such as the one discribed occurred, we would assist the store with their citizen arrest. We simply were a witness to the clerk or whatever when the arrest was made. We would then be there for any subsiquent problem such as resisting arrest, which we would of course, have done in our presence. Liability problem solved.
                    Murphy was an optomist.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jeff194307
                      The best policy here is , in my mind, the one we used when I worked at the mall in Sacramento. If a situation such as the one discribed occurred, we would assist the store with their citizen arrest. We simply were a witness to the clerk or whatever when the arrest was made. We would then be there for any subsiquent problem such as resisting arrest, which we would of course, have done in our presence. Liability problem solved.
                      Sounds like a good policy.

                      "Are you arresting that man because he's a thief?"

                      "No, officer, I didn't see him steal anything. He's under arrest because he's public disorderly and committed battery against this loss prevention agent, who was trying to arrest him."
                      Some Kind of Commando Leader

                      "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Can a shoplifter be prosecuted even without evidence of recovered goods??

                        My friend confessed that she was shoplifting at a large dept. store and when she left the store, she was in her car when 2 security officers approached her to get out of the car. Instead of getting out of the car, she drove off as they recorded her license plate number. Would police even file a report for this incident even without her identity or stolen merchandise? How will they track her down? Is it legal to prosecute her without the recovered goods? Any response is greatly appreciated.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bibbie2003
                          My friend confessed that she was shoplifting at a large dept. store and when she left the store, she was in her car when 2 security officers approached her to get out of the car. Instead of getting out of the car, she drove off as they recorded her license plate number. Would police even file a report for this incident even without her identity or stolen merchandise? How will they track her down? Is it legal to prosecute her without the recovered goods? Any response is greatly appreciated.
                          These questions depend on the state.

                          In some cases, yes.
                          Some Kind of Commando Leader

                          "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bibbie2003
                            My friend confessed that she was shoplifting at a large dept. store and when she left the store, she was in her car when 2 security officers approached her to get out of the car. Instead of getting out of the car, she drove off as they recorded her license plate number. Would police even file a report for this incident even without her identity or stolen merchandise? How will they track her down? Is it legal to prosecute her without the recovered goods? Any response is greatly appreciated.
                            The "security officers" approached her for a reason. I suggest they had witnessed the theft and were attempting to make an apprehension. They may of recorded her license plate and called the police. There may be film (video) of her committing the crime or they may visually identify her, and yes, she may be prosecuted without the merchandise being recovered.

                            Good luck to you.
                            Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
                            Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

                            Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Question on Mall Security

                              I have a little experience as being the Public Safety Director to a Private Mall in Iowa. (110 Stores)
                              We do not make the intial stops. We assit the store personnel in stopping the person. If we know that they are stealing, or if they are doing something to draw attention, we stop them for our "Code of Conduct". This gives the L.P. officers time to verify the theft.
                              I also have off duty Police Officers from two Police departments. They assist, when things are questionable, or the person acts out, against my Officers.
                              The Mall is Private Property, and with having the "Code of Coduct posted on all doors, and also as a handout. This gives us the initial stopping authority.
                              It is amazing how many shoplifters are also lawyers, stating their "rights"
                              They keep this up as the Police Officer is placing them in the car.
                              We also trespass all shoplifters from the Mall for 1- 10 years. That means if they come back, now they can be arrested for a serious misdeamor.
                              I am the original Grinch when it comes to shoplifters.

                              Have a Merry and Safe Christmas.
                              Chuckles

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