Guilderland Police and Crossgates Mall are planning to boost the number of officers patrolling the shopping center.
Conflicts can occur up to once a week at the Albany area’s largest shopping mall. Larger incidents make headlines. Lesser ones are documented via postings on various social media channels.
Over the weekend several juveniles were involved in a fight at the mall that ended with a pair of car chases.
State troopers were called to Crossgates around 6 p.m. Sunday to assist Guilderland police in quelling a brawl. Several people involved in the melee took off in two different vehicles. Kerra Burns is Troop G's Public Information Officer. "We did have some patrols who were in the area and were monitoring radio traffic, and when they heard come over the air they responded to assist. In a very short time later they were able to locate two vehicles that they believed to be involved. They attempted to stop those vehicles. The vehicles did fail to comply with those attempts. Troopers pursued the vehicles, one of which came to a stop in the area of Exit 24 of the New York State Thruway and three juveniles were taken into custody at that time. Those three juveniles have since been interviewed and released.
The second vehicle that was pursued was involved in a one-car collision in the area of Saint Peter’s Hospital. Six juveniles ranging in age from 14 to 17 years old were taken into custody, after that vehicle was discovered to have been stolen from U-Haul. Each of the juveniles were transported to Albany Medical Center, and they were treated for minor injuries. One of the juveniles that was located inside the U-Haul vehicle that crashed was suffering from a life-threatening stab wound that was believed to have been sustained during the altercation at Crossgates."
The investigation is currently ongoing. Crossgates has a “parental escort policy” requiring anyone under 18 to be accompanied by a parent or guardian 21 yeas of age or older, but that policy is only in effect from 4 p.m. to closing on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Mall security referred a call for comment to upper management, which did not respond in time for broadcast.
Guilderland Deputy Police Chief Curtis Cox tells WAMC the town and Crossgates management are hammering out a plan to increase police presence at the mall and an announcement is expected soon.
Lt. Robert Winn with the Colonie Police Department says officers there only report to Crossgates if Guilderland requests backup, which it has on some occasions, most notably a huge fight one Saturday night back in August that broke out at the “Get Air Trampoline Park.” In all, 14 police agencies were summoned to assist in that skirmish.
Colonie Police primarily deal with a different mall- Colonie Center. Winn was unable to provide data relating to police calls to the two malls, explaining the recent ransomware attack on town computers renders it inaccessible.
What if you're at a mall or other public place and something unexpected occurs? Winn says stay aware of your surroundings. "Know where the nearest exit is. So the first advice is always to try to remove yourself from the situation. To get away from it. To get to safety. If possible, contact 911 to let them know what is going on and what you have seen and have observed. The national mantra about that is very simple to remember: it's 'Run, Hide, Fight.' So that would be run, get away, escape. Hide if you cannot. If you're not in a position to escape, if the threat is between you and the exit, make yourself scarce, try to hide yourself. And as a last resort, if you come face to face with somebody who's a threat and it's now your life or theirs, the mantra is to fight."
And what should you do if you come upon a public fight or other disturbance? Authorities recommend you walk away and leave the area immediately.