‘Safest it’s been:’ Destiny USA offers unprecedented look at mall security

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — For the first time, Destiny USA is showing off its security features and highlighting the proactive work that goes into keeping shoppers safe.

The mall, notoriously quiet after a series of shootings and other violent crimes over the years, gave unprecedented access to NewsChannel 9 on Friday.

“In the past, we have not really talked about these things,” said General Manager Mike Gately. “Sometimes it comes to timing and the situations because issues come up that are police situations, and we necessarily can’t comment on. That doesn’t mean we aren’t, during that time, really pushing and trying to evolve our program to stay out ahead of these things. I think looking at this now, we have an understanding that we really want to, based on customer feedback, we really wanted to pull back the curtain to let people see actually what’s happening here at Destiny.”

Destiny USA managers and Syracuse police detailed several upgraded features used to protect shoppers.

“We’ve seen results,” said Gately. “In the 33 years…Carousel has been in existence, this is the safest it’s been.”

Police Patrols

On Monday, the Syracuse Police Department will assign two of its officers to daily mall detail during mall hours. They’re in addition to the up to six officers Destiny USA funds and the mall’s private security company.

Some of the officers use bicycles to get around the property, giving quick access to respond to any threats or thefts.

On weekends and other busy times, mall security has tables set up in the corridors working to enforce the parental escort policy for anyone under 18 years old.

Onondaga County probation officers patrol the mall, looking for people they’re familiar with and shouldn’t be on mall property.

Upstairs, the Syracuse Police Department has a substation, where officers have the same features as their police station, including computer systems and a handcuff-attachable bench to detain people.

Command Center and Cameras

NewsChannel 9 was the only news organization up in the mall’s tower, where an operations center has feeds of dozens of cameras, which can track a suspicious person from one end of the mall to the other.

Cameras cover the mall, inside and out.

Cameras installed outside the mall track license plate information from vehicles entering and exiting the property. Mall security and police are alerted if a vehicle not allowed on the property comes back.

Metal Detector Decisions

Destiny USA’s general manager says metal detectors have been considered but aren’t feasible.

“When you look at the JMA Wireless Dome,” Gately explains, “they have metal detectors but operate fewer hours than we do. Their control points are a lot fewer. When you look at a place like Destiny, it’s a very open building. We have a lot of entrances… when you look at it from a logistical standpoint, it’s not something that’s necessarily feasible.”

Gately hasn’t ruled out metal detectors. He says the mall is always looking at new technology, including if detectors become less intrusive to shoppers.

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