Malls are more than a place to shop, they’re a gathering place in most communities. You often see people power walking in the mornings and teens hanging out on the weekends.
With the recent tragedy at the Mall in Columbia, Patch asked people on Facebook whether the shooting would make them think twice about going to the local mall.
While some didn’t feel that it could happen in “their” town, others said it could happen anywhere at any time so people just need to stay aware.
“No! How many have we experienced in our own mall,” wrote Ginny Ramsburg Mueller on the Annapolis Patch Facebook page.
“I was at Annapolis mall this [Monday] evening and it was like a ghost town,” wrote Kathleen Petty Hammond on the Crofton Patch Facebook page. “On the upside I got great parking ... It was in my mind but you can't live in fear.”
“It doesn't stop me but I admit I'm more nervous and aware,” Laura Noell Jorgensen wrote on the Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch Facebook page. “It's sad. But it's the world we live in. I'm just not sure why."
“Crime is everywhere,” wrote Julie Behan, Crofton. “Seems like we can't stop it. We must be aware of our surroundings at all times. I don't hang in the malls but if I need to shop I will go.”
“I tend to look around a lot more everywhere, especially at the theater. But, no it won't stop me,” wrote Libby Pocock, Edgewater-Davidsonville.
Will Robinson, Annapolis, wrote: “They'll shoot you anywhere, so you might as well carry on.”
Jake Bapisteller received praise from others for writing “can’t live life in a bubble” on the Anne Arundel Patch Facebook page.
“Being afraid all the time is no way to live,” wrote Kylie Luik Riser, Edgewater-Davidsonville. “You have a better chance of being in a car accident but that doesn't stop most people from driving.”
Others felt like malls generally could do more to help people feel safe.
“People are responsible for their own security. It's called situational awareness,” wrote Rick Newton, Annapolis. “Mall security is a joke.”
“The mall managements in all malls need to help customers know they are being carefully watched over in the parking lots,” wrote Natalie Marie Benincasa Powell, Annapolis. “Do people have the mall security phone numbers in their cell phone contacts to call them when they see suspicious activities in the parking lot or somewhere? Definitely a need these days.”
“I already think twice and have for a long time. Mall parking lots are not safe, especially at night,” wrote Diane King on the Odenton-Severn Patch Facebook page.
A handful of people on Patch pages across Maryland referenced the Beltway sniper attacks as a reminder of how random some acts can be.
Ken Lawrence, Anne Arundel, wrote: “Can happen anywhere. Even a movie or getting gas. Remember Montgomery County? Snipers.”
“Freaks are everywhere,” wrote Denise Lucas on the Bowie Patch Facebook page. “You can't stop living because of these very isolated incidents. Sad times.”“I realize that I'm not safe anywhere at anytime. But, I'm not really much of a mall-goer. Life goes on,” wrote Art Huseonica, Crofton.