Safety measures heightened at local shopping centers for Black Friday weekend

Published: Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 1:25 PM

Ty Greenlees

After mass shootings killed dozens in Las Vegas and a small Texas church in recent months, shopping centers and malls are ensuring security protocols are robust for large crowds before the busy holiday shopping season.

Regional malls and shopping centers have seen violent crimes in recent years, but nationally retailers are more focused on combating theft and nonviolent crimes that cause loss of revenue for stores. An estimated 164 million people are planning to shop or considering shopping during Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Retail Federation.

A significant increase in store traffic can be a challenge for shopping malls and centers, and security firms are encouraging mall teams to ensure crowd control and identify suspicious behaviors during the busy holiday season. The busy shopping season comes on the heels of a string of mass shootings in populated areas. There has been more than 300 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2017, according to nonprofit Gun Violence Archive.

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At least 26 were killed and several others injured in a church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Another 58 died during a mass shooting at an October country concert in Las Vegas. Malls have also been impacted by mass shootings. Five people were killed in a mass shooting in 2016 at Cascade Mall in Washington. Another mass shooting at a Von Maur store in Nebraska left at least eight dead in 2007.


Global security firm GardaWorld encouraged malls to “provide situational awareness and security training to shopping mall’s personnel” before the holiday season.

“Threats your shopping mall personnel usually face are not severe. Yet, it’s important that they are trained to take appropriate actions in higher-risk scenarios to ensure everyone’s safety,” the security firm stated.

Local malls see shootings

Malls in the region have seen violent crimes within recent years. In May, a woman wounded a man during a shooting in a parking lot outside the Sears at Dayton Mall. The woman, Jordana Esses, fired 10 to 15 times and shot her boyfriend in the leg.

» HOLIDAY HIRING: 5 things we learned about local hiring this season

Other shootings have also occurred near the Dayton Mall. In late December 2014, a 16-year-old Middletown student was shot and killed outside the Dayton Mall while trying to rob a concealed-carry permit holder of his newly purchased athletic shoes. Earlier that year, a 41-year-old Los Angeles man was fatally shot outside P.F. Chang’s restaurant at 2626 Miamisburg-Centerville Road.


Both Dayton Mall and the Mall at Fairfield Commons are owned by Washington Prime Group, which previously told this news organization that safety is its top priority. Officials for The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek said they would not comment on specific security protocols.

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“We work closely with the local police departments and our own security teams to provide shoppers with a safe, pleasant shopping experience year round,” Shelley Sloan, regional marketing manager at Washington Prime Group, said in a statement.

From 2003-2008, there were 944 homicides involving workers in retail, according to a BLS study. Violent crimes occur more frequently in the parking lots of shopping centers, rather than in the actual malls. Parking lots are not a high priority for retailers when it comes to taking security precautions, Timothy L. Zehring, a risk assessment consultant, told STORES Magazine.


“If a retailer has 50 cameras on the premises, 47 of them will be in the store and three will be in the parking lot,” he said.

GardaWorld encouraged mall officials to “increase alertness within the team and emphasize the importance of fast emergency response” before Black Friday. The security company said high-risk areas during Black Friday include garbage cans, which are potential storage areas for stolen items, weapons, explosives and suspicious packages.

Combating theft

While shopping centers do prepare for catastrophic events like mass shootings, retailers are concerned with the day-to-day crimes that impact revenue. About 83 percent of merchants report an increase in organized retail crime, according to a 2016 study released by the NRF. About 89 percent of kids say they know other kids who shoplift.

“Retailers continue to deal with the challenges that come with fighting organized retail crime,” said NRF Vice President of Loss Prevention Bob Moraca. “Every day, criminals are getting more creative in the ways they manipulate the retail supply chain. Combating theft is a full-time job, and it is a constant battle industry-wide for retailers large and small to stay one step ahead of these savvy criminals.”

More than 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the last five years, according to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention. Some malls are combating this issue by implementing curfews for young adults. The Dayton Mall has a parental escort policy on Friday and Saturday evenings for children under the age of 16. The Greene also has security officers, called guest assistance personnel, that wear shoulder radios and monitor activity in-person and via security cameras, according to the center’s website.

The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek opened in 2006 and is now boasting more than 100 shops and restaurants in the mixed retail open shopping center. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Staff Writer)

Criminals are also finding ways to manipulate store return policies. According to the NRF survey, 68 percent of respondents said they had experienced thieves returning stolen merchandise for store credit, which is often resold to secondary-market buyers.

“Organized retail crime continues to impact retailers at a larger scale now more than ever before,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for Supply Chain and Custom Policy.


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This news organization is committed to bringing you in-depth retail coverage during the holiday season — work made possible by your subscription. Check out our Holiday Shopping Guide 2017 for everything you need to know before you head out next weekend at

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BREAKING: What is the building on fire in Downtown Dayton?

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 12:49 PM

A Caresource building under construction in downtown Dayton is on fire. STAFF PHOTO/Cory Frolik
A Caresource building under construction in downtown Dayton is on fire. STAFF PHOTO/Cory Frolik

UPDATE @ 1:32 p.m. (March 22):

The vice president for the company constructing the new CareSource building in downtown Dayton said all employees and construction workers are accounted for and there were no injuries in the fire this afternoon.

“We had an incident on the roof of the building,” said Troy Erbes, Vice President with Danis.  “Some roof insulation caught on fire.”

Erbes said they are still working to determine what caused the fire to start.

“Now we’re in the investigation state,” Erbes said.


CareSource planned to open its new downtown Dayton campus in the spring of 2019.

The company had started construction last year on what is to be the first newly constructed office tower in downtown Dayton in a decade. 

>>TRENDING: Latest information on building fire in Downtown Dayton

The six-story CareSource Center City is the first newly constructed downtown office project underway since the nonprofit - a fast growing Medicaid managed care company - broke ground on its Main Street headquarters. 

The building, with construction led by Danis, will be at the site of the former Patterson Co-op High School on the 100 block of East First Street. 

It will have the space to house 800 employees from CareSource, have a similar design to its headquarters and is intended create a walkable, campus like environment for its employees. 

CareSource, which now has about 2,000 employees in downtown Dayton, has been rapidly growing in recent years into a nonprofit with more than $7 billion in revenue and members in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and now Georgia, which it just expanded into this year.

The insurer has become a major employer in Dayton, anchoring downtown with its employment base. It struck a deal with the Ohio Tax Credit Authority late last year to increase its job-creation commitment to 1,920 jobs by 2019 — including current positions being filled and the new jobs promised — raising the company’s annual payroll in Dayton to more than $129 million. 

Along with its 230 N. Main St. headquarters, CareSource bought a building it had been leasing called Ballpark Village, across from Fifth Third Field.

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Trump proposes $50 billion in new tariffs on imports from China

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 9:16 AM

Continuing his campaign vow to get tough on countries which don’t play fair on trade, President Donald Trump on Thursday recommended slapping nearly $50 billion in new tariffs on products from China, as he accused the Chinese of stealing American technology.

“This has been long in the making,” the President told reporters at the White House, as he said his pledge to do something about unfair trade practices was just getting started.

“It’s probably one of the reasons I was elected, maybe one of the main reasons,” Mr. Trump said, as he has steadfastly resisted the calls of Republicans in Congress to stay away from tariffs on imported goods, which critics say are nothing more than a tax on American consumers.

“We’re doing things for this country which should have been done for many, many years,” the President added.

Trump Administration officials will now go over proposals for tariffs on all sorts of goods imported from China, much different than the targeted tariff plan that Mr. Trump approved earlier this month on imported steel and aluminum.

“It’s out of control,” the President said of the trade imbalance between the U.S. and China.

At the same event, Vice President Mike Pence said today’s move against China again signaled that the “era of economic surrender” is over when it comes to the United States.

“The United States of America is taking targeted and focused action to protect not only American jobs, but American technology,” Pence added.

The reaction in Congress was much more muted than a move to impose new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum coming into the country, when a number of Republicans denounced the idea of tariffs, arguing it could spark a trade war.

As the President’s decision was announced, Wall Street markets went down, with investors worried by a possible trade fight with the Chinese.

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UPDATE: CareSource construction site on fire in downtown Dayton

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 12:15 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 1:11 PM

SKY7: Aerial footage of Caresource construction site fire

UPDATE @ 1:11 p.m.

Steve Brack, a GrubHub driver that was making lunchtime deliveries downtown, said: “Pieces of charred black material are floating off the building and landing on the street.”

He said the downtown area is a “parking lot.”
RELATED: Dayton Fire: CareSource fire involves roofing materials

The fire is believed to involving roofing materials, according to the Dayton Fire Department. Everyone was able to get out of the building and the only people believed to have been inside at the time the fire started were construction workers.

UPDATE @ 12:48 p.m.

All construction workers have been accounted for with no injuries reported, according to emergency dispatchers. 

PHOTOS: CareSource construction site on fire in downtown Dayton

Smoke can been seen for miles, including from Troy.

Caresource fire

RELATED: Numerous roads in downtown Dayton closed due to building fire

UPDATE @ 12:40 p.m.

CareSource said in a statement it planned to open its new downtown Dayton campus in the spring of 2019. Construction started last year on what is to be the first newly constructed office tower in downtown Dayton in a decade.

A time-lapse of the fire in downtown Dayton

MORE INFO: What is the building on fire in downtown Dayton? 

The six-story CareSource Center City has construction led by Danis which started in 2017. It’s on the site of the former Patterson Co-op High School on the 100 block of East First Street.

Roads are closed downtown from Jefferson Street to St. Clair Street and from Second Street to Monument Street. Avoid the area.

UPDATE @ 12:30 p.m. 

Heavy black smoke is seen from miles away. The fire is in area of First and Jefferson streets, where a CareSource building is under construction.

A caller into the newsroom described downtown as a “parking lot.”


A fire is reported in downtown Dayton.

Around 12 p.m. the fire is reported at a CareSource building on construction at 134 N. Jefferson St. Traffic is being impacted at First and Main streets. 

We have units on the way and will update this report.

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Attorney representing Trump in Russia probe resigns

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 1:15 PM

In this April 29, 20111, file photo, attorney John Dowd walks in New York.
AP Photo/Richard Drew, File
In this April 29, 20111, file photo, attorney John Dowd walks in New York.(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

The top lawyer representing President Donald Trump in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election resigned Thursday, according to multiple reports.

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Attorney John Dowd’s resignation came days after he called for an end to Mueller’s investigation, claiming it was “manufactured” by former FBI Director James Comey and based on an infamous -- and mostly unverified -- dossier that was funded in part by the Democratic National Committee and Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

“I love the president and wish him well,” Dowd wrote Thursday in an email to The Washington Post.

>> More on Robert Mueller's investigation

The newspaper reported that Dowd’s departure was “a largely mutual decision” based on Trump’s recent belief that Dowd couldn’t handle Mueller’s investigation and the attorney’s frustration with the president’s recent additions to his legal team. Trump attorney Jay Sekulow earlier this week brought one of his friends, veteran Washington attorney Joseph diGenova, onto the team, according to The New York Times.

It was not immediately clear who would take over as lead of the president’s legal team. 

>> Related: Trump slams Mueller, McCabe in Sunday tweets

“John Dowd is a friend and has been a valuable member of our legal team,” Sekulow said Thursday in a statement to the Times. “We will continue our ongoing representation of the president and our cooperation with the office of special counsel.”

CNN reported that Dowd’s exit could hint that Trump’s legal team plans to become more aggressive in defending the president.

>> Related: Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pleads guilty in Mueller investigation

Dowd, who took over Trump’s legal team last summer, has advised the president to cooperate in Mueller’s investigation and refrain from publicly attacking the special counsel, the Times reported. Still, Trump has targeted Mueller for criticism in recent days, repeating his claims that the probe is little more than a politically motivated “witch hunt.”

Last month, Mueller indicted 13 Russian individuals and three organizations on charges of interfering in the election. Three of Trump's associates -- former national security adviser Michael Flynn, deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates and campaign aide George Papadopoulos -- have pleaded guilty to lying to investigators and agreed to cooperate. Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has pleaded not guilty to a variety of money laundering and other criminal charges.

13 Russian Nationals And 3 Russian Companies Indicted In Mueller Probe
The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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