Northpark Center is nowhere near this fate, because it is one of the best managed, best retail anchored, and most innovative shopping centers in the world, not to mention one of the most beautiful and well-maintained.
But it had better do something to check the crime. Heather LeClair’s petition asking Northpark Mall to beef up security after at least three documented crimes since December 16 has more than 1100 signatures — click here if you have not signed. Soccer moms vote their concerns with their Black Cards.
I was reading an old article from 2008 about one dead shopping center, Southwyck Shopping Center, in South Toledo, Ohio that closed down completely after 36 years as a leading regional shopping venue. It was one of many that shuttered in Ohio and the midwest for a number of reasons including the economy. But experts cited crime as ONE of the main reasons:
Other often-cited reasons for Southwyck s decline include the increased competition from strips malls and the growing Franklin Park complex, the South Toledo mall’s lack of major renovations or upgrades, and a lingering perception of crime or danger at the mall.
They have some of the same landscaping and benches that were there when it opened, and you just can t do that in any type of retail setting, said Rob Ludeman, an agent with Danberry Co. Realtors and a former Toledo city councilman whose district included Southwyck.
The mall and its parking lot were the scenes of several incidents of vandalism, assaults, drug deals, and fights in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The crime perception is hard to overcome. The 70’s and 80’s were heydays for large shopping malls, and many managed to survive 20 to 30 years before becoming dangerous. Crime is, unfortunately, all around us and perhaps that is the shelf life for criminals to move from one location to another: from a “bad part of town” that gets cleaned up to the suburban-esque mall. (Some police have told me you never really get rid of criminals, you just make them move elsewhere, become another person’s problem.) Shopping centers are like feed lots for criminals: shoppers have money, expensive gadgets, and autos. They are distracted and prime targets.
Also, if you have not seen this BuzzFeed post on Nine of America’s Abandoned Malls, here it is (who knew there was a Dead malls Enthusiasts Facebook group?):
Dead malls are popping up all over the states, particularly in the Midwest, where economic decline has sped up the “going out of business” process. This map, put together by a Dead Malls Enthusiasts Facebook group, shows that well.
As Americans are faced with multiple shopping options and more stores are leaving malls, it should be interesting to see if malls and mall culture will survive.
What you are about to see is what happens when malls are abandoned. It’s apocalyptic and really, really creepy.