Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Yorkdale Shopping Centre spends $3.4 million to overhaul security
The $3.4 million investment, the largest security upgrade in Yorkdale’s 50-year history, includes the installation of “one of the most advanced security surveillance systems in Canada,” a spokesman for the North York mall said Wednesday.
“Shopper safety is our number one priority and this security installation will make Yorkdale a very undesirable place for criminal activity,” said Anthony Casalanguida, of Oxford Properties, which co-owns and manages the mall. “We now have the one of the most technologically advanced surveillance coverage systems available to help deter crime, assist police investigations, and help people feel safe.”
The mall, located at Dufferin St. and Hwy. 401, has outfitted licence plate recognition technology at all points of entry onto the property.
And “exceptionally high resolution” surveillance cameras now monitor the exterior of the mall, providing 360-degree coverage of the entire property.
Those same state-of-the-art cameras, which have the capability to zoom in on an incident or individual, will also soon replace the older generation of cameras currently monitoring the mall’s interior.
As well, the mall now has a surveillance room staffed by trained security officers who monitor live feeds from all the cameras 24/7.
Casalanguida admitted the security upgrades were largely triggered by the violence that has occurred at Yorkdale in recent years, including the two shootings six weeks apart last spring that left one dead and two injured.
The mall already had “a robust security system,” he said. But working with police during those “previous challenges,” officials learned there were some gaps that needed to be filled.
“In order for us to evolve and continue to be industry leaders, we felt we needed to up the ante,” Casalanguida said.
Toronto Police applaud the mall manager’s decision to update security systems.
“Yorkdale has always had excellent security and surveillance,” said Supt. Selwyn Fernandes, 32 Division’s commander. “Yorkdale is raising the bar in private security and the kind of detail its security team can now deliver will be a real deterrent to criminal activity and, when needed, will be an asset to police investigations.”
Examples of recent violence at Yorkdale:
April 16, 2009: A security guard was shot while arresting a boy, 15, but his life was spared thanks to his bullet-proof vest.
March 30, 2013: Suspected gang member Michael Nguyen, 23, was executed and another man, 24, wounded by two gunmen who lay in wait in the mall’s parking lot.
May 11, 2013: A gunman opened fire from outside the mall and the bullet pierced the window of the Joey restaurant wounding a man inside.
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