Guest Author - Vance Rowe
Before I begin, just let me say that the duties and responsibilities of mall security guards differ from state to state. A mall security guard’s main function is to be proactive and to show people that there are security guards walking around the mall or driving around the parking lot. People who are shopping in an indoor mall like to have that feeling of security as they see guards walking around and keeping a diligent eye out for trouble or safety and fire hazards. The mall security guard is there for the safety of the shoppers and the protection of the common areas of the mall. Each individual store in the mall is responsible for its own security and mall security is not allowed to go into the stores and take the alleged shoplifters or vandals back to the security office because of liability reasons. They are allowed, however, to go into the stores for the protection of the employees and any patrons in there and wait for law enforcement to arrive.
In the malls that I worked as a security guard, we were not allowed to “detain” anyone by force. We would ask them to accompany us to our office and fill out an incident report and wait for law enforcement to come, if law enforcement was needed. Most people do not know this and they go with the guard to the office, thinking that they can be arrested and accosted if they don’t. As I said, this may vary from state to state but in the state I worked in, we were not allowed to physically detain suspects. Security guards are just supposed to follow them and take down as much information as possible. What they are wearing, how tall they are, what vehicle did they leave in, a plate number if possible and then we turn that information over to the police.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
A camera is a very important tool to the security guard. Every incident report that is filed should have a photograph accompany it whenever possible for any potential liability lawsuits. It is especially important for slip and fall injuries. A pen is very instrumental as is a notepad. A security guard should write as much information down in his notepad as possible so it will be easier to recall later when he/she writes up an incident report.
SLIPS, TRIPS AND FALLS
It is commonplace in a mall for there to be slip and fall accidents. Whether it is an icy sidewalk outside, a piece of broken pavement or concrete or if something was spilled or dropped on the floor inside of the mall. A security guard is called when someone reports something like spilled water on the floor in the common area of the mall and the security guard is supposed to go to the spill and stand by it until someone from maintenance can get there to clean it up. If a security guard has to leave the spill for another incident somewhere before maintenance can get there, then the security guard should put something over the spill like a nearby trash can or a bench to keep people off of the spill and to prevent an accident. People can be very litigious when it comes to being injured, especially in a place like a mall. If someone slips or trips and get injured, they may want to sue, thinking they can get rich quick, so that is why an incident report is very important and pictures are just as important. For instance, if the sidewalk is icy, it is very important to note the temperature outside and the weather conditions for the incident report. The incident report may have to be used in court and is why it has to be a detailed report.
A security guard is very important in the day to day operations of a shopping mall whether they are filing incident reports, assisting emergency services, or bringing memos around to the different stores from mall management. It is a very important job and anyone working as a mall security guard should treat it as such.