The holiday season is a time to spread joy and revel in the spirit of giving. Crowds gather across the nation’s countless shopping malls, as shoppers try to find that perfect gift. However, the amount of activity creates the conditions that can present a risk to your personal safety. The 2016 holiday season had numerous incidents across the nation that showed us just what can happen when crowds become unruly.
In Fort Worth, Texas, the Hulen Mall was put on lockdown after a series of fights that were reported to involve over a hundred people. Thanks to the efforts of local police, who initially responded to reports of gunfire, these fights were broken up. While no injuries were reported, this situation could’ve been much worse, and it shows how situations can escalate among large crowds of people. Shoppers involved in other incidents are not always as lucky. Also in 2016, two children were injured after fights escalated at a mall in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Black Friday incidents demonstrate risk
Black Friday is notorious for incidents that result in personal injury, providing a clear example of what happens when situations escalate. Last month, many people were victims of holiday chaos, such as one incident at a Missouri mall where a man was shot in the parking lot and needed to be treated for serious injuries. At an unidentified Kmart location, a man was left with a shattered hip after being flung into a nearby shelf. In Alabama, two women were treated for minor injuries after a fight broke out.
Sergeant Richard Rodriguez of the Houston Police Department acknowledged the safety issues that come with the amount of holiday activity after an incident at Willowbrook Mall last month resulted in two men being flown to a hospital via medical helicopter. The men were involved in a dispute which resulted in one being stabbed and the other shot.
“It’s all about situational awareness," said Rodriguez. "Know where you’re at and who's around you. People are out shopping and the criminals are out shopping for your stuff.”
Physical altercations in crowded areas, such as shopping malls, can result in injury to both those involved and innocent bystanders. Law enforcement is often quick to respond to such incidents, but it is important to be aware of your surroundings to minimize any risks to personal safety. And malls and shopping centers have a responsibility to provide adequate security to protect holiday shoppers.
Should you or anyone you know suffer injuries while shopping for the holidays, contact us. Our talented legal team can provide a free case evaluation to determine the best course of action and ensure your rights are upheld.