On National Missing and Exploited Children Day Friday, announced it has put a system in place to respond to reports of lost children or disabled adults.
In the 10 days or so the system has been operating, security employees have responded to two incidents, Monika Kalicki, the mall's director of marketing, announced at a press conference.
In the first, a young child got lost May 19 and personnel found the child within four minutes, she said. In the second incident, a disabled adult was found within five minutes.
"A parent approached one of our security members and said 'my child is missing,' and immediately they implemented Code Adam," said Kalicki. "They gave a description of the child. If someone is seen with that description, they're not allowed to leave the mall."
The mall's department stores have their own security procedures, Kalicki said, but the new security program includes the rest of the mall.
"Our goal is to secure the common areas, and the big department stores are also alerted," Kalicki said.
"The goal is to not have the child leave the mall."
Niles Police Chief Dean Strzelecki said security staff can lock down a store or monitor entrances and exits while other staff looks for the child.
Library also has Code Adam
Sue Wilsey, the Niles Library's director of marketing, said library employees have been trained to handle a report of a missing child, and that the library is also compliant with Code Adam. The code was named after Adam Walsh, a child whose 1981 disappearance, along with the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz, for which a suspect was charged Friday, resulted in increased awareness of and advocacy for the issue of missing children.
Two Niles abductions
The National Center's website lists one child abduction from Niles. The child was abducted by her mother and they are believed to be living in Slovakia.
Niles Police Commander Joe Penze knew of one other case, of an adult woman who told a chicago.cbslocal.com reporter she was abducted at age 7 from a wooded area near Niles, bound with tape and assaulted. The woman, giving her name only as Mindy, has become an advocate for registering sex offenders who committed incidents prior to January 1996, when Illinois started its sex offender database.