Columbia Mall begins updating camera system

Thursday, November 29, 2007 | 6:11 p.m. CST; updated 3:04 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

COLUMBIA — As shoppers flock to Columbia Mall during the holiday season, mall security is installing a new camera system.

“The safety and well-being of our shoppers is always a priority,” said Sonja Derboven, marketing manager for Columbia Mall. “This is another opportunity for us to enhance and improve our overall security program.”

Derboven said the current camera system is limited. The new system will be more extensive, installing new cameras in different locations that provide more angles throughout the mall parking lots.

The system will also add more security screens, in which people can see themselves as they walk in front of cameras, Derboven said.

Also, the camera room will be always staffed, Derboven said.

The installation of the camera system began a few weeks ago, though the plan to make the upgrade has been in the works for more than a year, Derboven said.

Derboven would not say how much the new system will cost, nor when the tentative completion date is.

Derboven said the mall attracts about 12 million visitors annually, an average of about 30,000 to 35,000 shoppers per day. On high-traffic days, such as the Friday after Thanksgiving and the Saturday before Christmas, the number of shoppers typically doubles, she said.

Mall security doesn’t necessarily increase during the holiday season, which begins after Thanksgiving and runs until Christmas, Derboven said.Instead, mall traffic and staffing accommodations are evaluated on a daily basis. On days when more shoppers than normal are expected, extra security officers are put on duty, she said.

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