Mall security is a common first career choice for many security guards. Mall security guards interact with the public in many ways, such as providing support in emergency situations, such as dissuading individuals from causing a nuisance or breaking the law and providing general help and direction to mall patrons. The Canadian Academy of Guard Training’s Basic Security Guard Training course gives you the information you need to prepare yourself for your province’s licensing exam.
You might think that mall security consists of a guard or a group of guards wandering around a mall responding to situations, but there’s actually more to it than that. A good mall security team can be comprised of a variety of security-oriented individuals, such as dispatch, several guards or agents that patrol different areas of the mall on foot, and a team of behaviour detection agents.
Job requirements between these positions may vary depending on the needs of a particular mall, but the main responsibilities are relatively static. Let’s take a close look at some common responsibilities of mall security.
1. Provide emergency response support
As a mall security guard, one of your most important tasks is responding to emergency situations. Anytime there’s an area with a large number of people coming and going, there’s bound to be some type of emergency that arises, whether it be medical or otherwise.
The Canadian Academy of Guard Training’s basic security guard training course includes essential first aid training to prepare you for dealing with a range of medical situations that mall employees and patrons may find themselves in. For instance, one of the ways that training prepares you for emergency situations is through risk mitigation. It’s unrealistic to expect that no emergency situation could happen in an environment like a mall where there’s a large number of people, so security professionals have to be able to recognize and respond quickly to hazards and emergencies that may arise. Risk mitigation gives you the preparation and mindset you need to respond to these situations appropriately.
2. Respond to and prevent criminal activity
Responding to and preventing criminal activity as a mall security guard is a delicate balance of maintaining composure and professionalism in a volatile setting, standing your ground, and using techniques like de-escalation to soften the situation. It’s important for a security professional to be able to remain calm and act in a disciplined and professional manner, even when dealing with difficult people or situations, such as intoxicated persons or persons who have committed or are suspected to have committed a crime, such as shoplifting. The most important thing is to be able to treat everyone involved with respect and dignity. Security guards and professionals also need to have a basic understanding of the Canadian legal system, so they know how to act and when to act in a given situation, as a breach of the peace.
3. Patrol or surveillance of mall activity
Security professionals monitor large spaces like malls in various ways, typically through surveillance equipment (like security cameras), and guard patrols. Security dispatchers are usually responsible for monitoring areas through surveillance equipment and act as a central communication point for the guards that are patrolling different areas of the mall on foot. Dispatchers alert patrolling guards to a specific location where a response is needed.
The main ways that patrol guards keep areas safe are detection, prevention, and observation. Guards that patrol the mall need to have an eye for detail and be able to a number of different detect situations with the function of protecting lives and property. A patrol guard should keep an eye out for offenses actively being committed by individuals, but they should also note and respond to things like fires, structural damage, and other hazards that could cause harm.
4. Promote a safe environment
Often, just the presence of a security guard or team of guards on the mall premises is enough to give individuals peace of mind and promote a safe environment for mall patrons and employees. Of course, just being present isn’t all the mall security guard does. Aside from responding to emergencies, responding to criminal activity that does happen, and patrolling or surveying areas, mall security promotes a safe environment by performing tasks like escorts of VIPs, safe walks (walking a mall employee to their vehicle at night, for instance), and controlling access to restricted areas (like back hallways or private offices).
5. Maintain order
Another way that mall security professionals promote a safe environment is by maintaining order in the mall. For example, during a mall event such as a celebrity autograph signing, or a special shopping day like Boxing Day or Black Friday, a security guard would help control crowds and line-ups. If an emergency happens, as someone gets injured, a security guard’s role would be to secure the area by keeping crowds at bay so emergency workers can do their job effectively.
A job in mall security
When people picture a job in mall security, they might default to stereotypes of the position that they’ve seen portrayed in movies or other media. However, it takes a dedicated, detail-oriented individual to be an effective and outstanding mall security guard. The position allows you to gain great experience and training in various areas and can be a rewarding and exciting career choice.