Mall Security: Risk Mitigation After Germany Plot

After foreign terrorist calls to attack shopping malls in the West, which has been circulating in propaganda since 2015, the Limbecker Platz mall in the western German city of Essen closed on March 11. Two men were arrested after German police received a tip that ISIS contacted followers in Germany to attack the mall—the second terror plot against malls in the country since December 2016. 

  • In December 2016, German police arrested two Kosovar brothers allegedly plotting to attack CentrO mall in Oberhausen, the largest mall in Europe. The brothers were later released due to a lack of evidence.
  • In September 2016, Dahir Adan attacked and wounded 20 people with a knife at the Crossroads Center shopping mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

While there are no specific or credible threats to New Jersey, NJOHSP encourages mall owners and operators to consider the following risk mitigation measures:  

  • Increase presence of security personnel to deter and prevent an attack. Visible uniformed security personnel at public entrances and on patrol throughout the facility can deter attacks, while non-uniformed security personnel can monitor mall staff and customers for suspicious behavior.
  • Control non-public access points and restricted areas. Mall owners should regulate access to non-public entrances via secure locking mechanisms, and they should use video surveillance to monitor all entrances and restricted areas for suspicious behavior and unauthorized access.
  • Train mall employees and security personnel on active shooter response. All full- and part-time employees should receive active shooter training during new-hire orientation. Active shooter response plans should be exercised with staff and security personnel quarterly.
  • Educate mall staff and customers on how to detect and report suspicious activity. Mall owners should develop an awareness campaign focused on indicators of suspicious behavior and terrorist surveillance. Information should include See Something, Say Something materials for display throughout facilities.

For additional information, please contact NJOHSP’s Preparedness Bureau at