In central Ohio, there have been shots fired in three different incidents at shopping malls this month.
In 1994, a 15-year-old boy was killed at a shooting at City Center Mall. Investigators think a feud between rival gangs led to the shooting.
“There was a shooting there and someone was killed and people said ‘well wait a second, if I have other places to go, and there aren’t being people shot and killed, I think I’m going to go shop and those other places,’” said Gary Sigrist with Safeguard Risk Solutions.
The mall eventually closed in the early 2000s after that incident as well as increased competition.
“It is considered workplace violence and it can affect your bottom line if you don’t have a handle on it,” said Sigrist.
Now in 2021, there have been three shots fired incidents at malls in one month, two at Polaris Shopping Place and another at Easton Town Center.
“An isolated incident is probably not going to have a huge effect on consumer behavior, but when it becomes a constant event or frequent or consumers start to really feel scared they’re going to avoid it,” said Joseph Goodman, associate professor of marketing and logistics at Ohio State.
“We have to be clear to try to remind consumers that this is a safe place and all these events do you happen they’re very isolated and they’re outside of our control.”
Goodman says many are fearful of things they can’t control, even if they’re unlikely. His example of something that happens more often that’s more dangerous, driving a car.
“A car accident it feels like it’s something in our control, but these external events are especially troubling,” said Goodman.
Columbus police did arrest the shooter in the second shots fired incident at Polaris. We reached out to them about the other incidents and haven’t heard back.