Hamilton Place mall security increased after multiple incidents

Hamilton Place mall security increased after multiple incidents

January 19th, 2017 by Joy Lukachick Smith in Local Regional News

People line up from the front of the Barnes and Noble bookstore to beyond the main mall entrance as Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson meets supporters at a book signing at the bookstore at the Hamilton Place Mall on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

After recent disturbances at Hamilton Place mall, including one that led to a lawsuit, officials announced they will beef up security inside the mall and around the parking lot.

CBL & Associates Properties, the mall developer and owner, is hiring more off-duty Chattanooga police officers and extending its curfew for teens during peak shopping hours, CBL spokeswoman Kim Carson said this week.

"There will be a very notable increase in police officers," she said. "We understand the public's concern and we're not taking it lightly."

Citing security measures, Carson declined to say how many off-duty Chattanooga Police Department officers will patrol the mall but said shoppers will notice more uniformed police patrolling inside the facility and outside.

Also starting Feb. 3, CBL will extend curfew hours for teenagers under 18 by two hours on Friday and Saturday. Teenagers will be required to be accompanied by their legal guardian or parent after 4 p.m. instead of 6 p.m., Carson said.

On Sunday, police arrested a gun-toting 22-year-old after police said Erwin Rogers attempted to use a stolen credit card. This was the third incident at the mall since November, when two people were shot in the parking lot on Black Friday.

In December, several shoppers were injured during a rush to escape the mall when four people lit fireworks during a robbery attempt. A lawsuit is pending after a local family claimed CBL and the mall's property manager were responsible for what they described as a "human stampede" that led to their injuries.

There are no changes to security being made now at CBL's Northgate Mall in Hixson, but Carson said officials were continually monitoring security measures to see if any improvements are needed.

Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick Smith at jsmith@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6659.