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Braintree's South Shore Plaza ramps up security around holidays

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  December 13, 2012 12:00 PM

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As part of a security strategy intended to keep the holiday madness in check, the South Shore Plaza will employ a police detail to accompany a nonstop 72-hour shopping event at Macy’s.

According to Braintree Town Councilor Sean Powers, the Braintree store is one of the few Macy's in the country taking part in marathon store hours, which will keep the store open from the morning of Friday, Dec. 21, through 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Councilors subsequently requested a police detail at their meeting with South Shore Plaza General Manager Rick Tonzi on Tuesday night. One officer will be on duty during the overnight hours when the normal police detail isn't present.

“It was stated that it’s uncharted territory, that a police detail would be warranted to handle any issues down there, given that the overnight shift with the Police Department is the least-manned shift of all three shifts,” Powers said.

Powers couldn’t recall any other business in Braintree that has stayed open 24 hours straight, and said Black Friday shopping, which began at 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 23, was the only thing that came close.

Overall, the event will be a test for the Plaza and will play a large part in deciding whether the mall ever requests a similar event.

“There will definitely be a review and if Macy’s does decide to do the marathon shopping again next year, we’ll take a look at that again,” Powers said.

The extra details at Macy's are part of the intensified police presence at the mall during the holiday season. From Black Friday to Dec. 31, South Shore Plaza expects to pay for 1,000 hours of police details, typically eight to 16 officers working at a time, said Councilor Tom Bowes, chairman of the Public Safety Committee.

At other times of the year, one or two police officers will be at the mall, and not every day, Bowes said.

Police Chief Russell Jenkins did not immediately return calls for comment about the security measures. However, Powers said the Plaza plans to keep police enforcement high even the week after Christmas.

“It’s just as busy a shopping week as weeks before Christmas. People said it’s the returns, but people are still shopping for deals,” Powers said.

Powers said that Tonzi will meet again with the council in January to discuss an overview of how things went, though according to Tonzi, security measures are going well thus far.

“We add security during the day, our numbers are higher, and we have extended hours, so in total [security] is up substantially. We had a lot of police for traffic…but if something occurs, they are on site and can come right in,” Tonzi said.

Retailers are also pleased with the high amount of traffic, which Tonzi characterized as “nuts.”

“I think we’re up, but we have 12 days to go, and post Christmas, I have a good feeling it’s going to be a good season,” he said.

Looking ahead to next year, the Plaza is already planning to implement changes, specifically around Black Friday.

“I think we all got caught off guard with the amount of traffic that came through the doors on Black Friday. It was the first year we had that many stores open at 12:30. In the past, we were open after midnight, but it was less stores,” Tonzi said.

Still, Tonzi said he knows Chief Jenkins and has a working relationship with him. All in all, planning for this busy season will continue to be a work in progress, he said.

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