Run or hide? What to do during a mall emergency


AUSTIN (KXAN) — For a period of time, shoppers at Barton Creek Square Saturday night were panicked.

Some ran. Some hid. When chaos first broke out, some people were under the impression gunshots were fired inside.

Austin Police have not found any evidence of gunshots, and continue to investigate this as a theft of the Helzberg Diamonds store. We asked the department what people should do when emergency situations occur.

“Especially with that circumstance it was first reported that shots were being fired. So absolutely, run, shelter, do whatever you’ve got to do to get away,” said Sgt. Joshua Griggers.

We reached out to Simon Malls, which owns Barton Creek, to ask about safety protocol, but have not heard back.

BPS Security, which has clients all across Texas, says typically – hiding is the best option.

“When it comes to crimes inside malls, it is best for shoppers to hide inside stores that are not connected to the danger,” said the company’s CEO Glen Bhimani.

Police also ask – only if it’s safe to do so – to try and get a description of any people involved in a crime.

“We ask people to be a good witness is possible. What I mean by that is be observant. Get as much detail about the suspect without putting yourself in harm’s way,” Sgt. Griggers said. “Unless we’re able to catch this stuff early and show people there are consequences, that you’ll be held accountable, that you’ll have to speak to a judge because we’re going to arrest you – then it’s only gonna make people more emboldened to do stuff like this.”

Police are asking anyone who may have gotten video of the Helzberg Diamonds store when the robbery happened to please contact the department.

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Austin-Travis County


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