ATLANTA (CBS46) — Security measures at Lenox Square mall are called into question after new data was obtained from the Atlanta Police Department.
Atlanta Police recorded at least 235 crimes at or near the mall so far this year, including 15 robberies, 12 car thefts, and five aggravated assaults.
Back in June, a security guard at Lenox Square mall in Buckhead was held at gunpoint and then shot. A witness captured the incident on video. Atlanta police later arrested two 15-year-olds accused of the shooting.
“We were able to ultimately recover much evidence including firearms as well," said Atlanta Police Department Deputy Chief Timothy Peek.
Management had been touting steps they've taken to curb the crime.
"Lenox Square has invested millions of dollars into one of the largest private security programs in the state of Georgia," said Robin Suggs, Lenox Square General Manager.
Some changes include increased security patrol, a curfew for anyone under the age of 18 on property, and also added metal detectors
But CBS46 Investigates found with well over a dozen entrances to the mall, there are only two clear locations with metal detectors.
"It's weird because they don't have metal detectors at all locations," said Percy Milligan, who was shopping in the area. "You're able to go in one area without going through the metal detectors, and the other areas you don't have to. That makes no sense to me."
Suggs says the metal detectors are at strategic locations, and only part of the security program.
"15 off-duty law enforcement officer, the K-9, the off-duty officers coupled with private security, as well as the 200 camera systems and license plate readers. So it’s the totality of the program, not simply the location of the weapons detection," Suggs said.
CBS46 Investigates asked Suggs, if there is more security guards, but one of them was shot in June, has the presence made a difference?
"We are committed to providing a safe and secure environment," Suggs said.
Some holiday shoppers were still hesitant, wondering if this is only a false sense of security.
"That's kind of terrifying," said Ashly Boze, who was shopping in the area. "I grew up in Marietta and this was supposed to be the nice area and the nice mall."
"I'm sure there should be more security here," said Sherryl Perkins.
Simon Properties, which owns Lenox Square, had previously released the following statement:
- Simon is committed to the safety of our employees, shoppers, and retailers and has invested millions of dollars to support one of the largest private security programs in the State of Georgia. Simon properties work closely with the Atlanta Police Department, Buckhead Coalition, Buckhead Community Improvement District, Livable Buckhead, and Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods to address any issues that arise or concern shoppers, employees, and retailers. During business hours, Lenox Square is continuously monitored by 18 or more hired off-duty Atlanta Police Officers and more than 13 private security officers, who utilize patrol cars, UTVs, and Segways to patrol in and around the properties. Lenox Square is one of the most surveilled environments in Atlanta and has 18x more security personnel by square acre than the city of Atlanta, with security extending to off hours when the properties are closed, providing for around-the-clock coverage. We have a highly skilled and experienced security team, and a number of proactive security measures in place, both seen and unseen, including maintaining a continuous security patrol of our property and parking lots. A full list of security measures for both properties can be found here.
- Additionally, this holiday season, Simon encourages shoppers follow basic precautions to help ensure a safe shopping experience including:
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Always have your keys in hand while in the parking lot.
- Avoid using your cellphone while walking to your car.
- Be sure to lock your car doors.
- Keep packages and valuables out of sight.
- Security escorts available upon request. Please call security at 404-237-8995 (Lenox Square)
Editor's Note: This story's headline, and part of the story, have been changed or removed, after our initial report was called into question by the Atlanta Police Department. In that initial story, we reported there were more than 3,000 calls for service over a six month period at Lenox Square Mall. While that is true, fewer than 500 of those reports were directly related to mall security. 2,083 were officers pulling into service for off-duty security jobs at Lenox Square. Upon reviewing the facts, we should have done a better job of making that clear. We here at CBS46 strive to provide you with accurate reporting in each and every story we do. We promise to be better moving forward.