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Let’s Go to the Mall

Robin Sparkles copyDecember 26, 2014: Monroeville Mall closed down at 8:30 p.m. due to multiple fights that officials believed teenagers planned over social media.

February 7, 2015: A fight broke out among a group of teenagers at Ross Park Mall around 3 p.m.

February 7, 2015: Monroeville Mall went on lockdown after shots were fired inside Macy’s around 7:30 p.m.

February 11, 2015: Diamond rings, valued at 8,000 dollars, were stolen from the Zales Jewelers store in Westmoreland Mall.

Notice a pattern? Mall crimes have become more prevalent in the last few months.

Or are we just hearing about them more often?

There is no disputing the fact that these are newsworthy stories, but the more frequently that incidents like these are reported, the more mass panic they can cause.

Should Pitt-Greensburg students be worried about going to Westmoreland Mall? While a jewelry-store theft is not a crime that would directly affect students, how long could it be before something bigger happens? How long before Westmoreland Mall, like Monroeville and Century III before it, starts to go downhill?

We shouldn’t be worried. Brawls, shootings, and other crimes can happen anywhere. They can happen in malls, at bars, at churches, and on college campuses. There is no place in the world that is completely immune to violence. It’s scary, but it’s not a reason to quit living your life as normal.

Pitt-Greensburg students spend an overabundance of time at the mall, at Walmart, at the bars, at pizza places, and at Sheetz. Where else can we go on random Tuesday nights when we want to get out and do something for fun but have to be back for a night class, a Village event, or some sort of sleep so we can stay awake for our 8-a.m. classes?

We can’t, and shouldn’t, avoid these places.

The best things we can do are be aware and not become part of the problem.

If you are at the mall and sense that something suspicious is happening, report it. After you report it, get out. Those are the best ways to protect yourself from danger. Trust your gut. If it’s making you uncomfortable, there’s probably something shady going on.

And don’t add to the problem. Don’t go looking for trouble. Don’t participate in a mall brawl, don’t bring a gun to Macy’s (or anywhere else for that matter) with the intent of shooting someone, and don’t steal stuff. I know, we’re all poor college students, but the t-shirt, CD, or whatever you’re thinking about stealing isn’t worth the mark on your criminal record.

Be smart and use your head; only you can uphold mall safety.

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