WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Fights, shootouts and drive-bys have happened inside and outside Hanes Mall over the last three years.
The most recent violence was a shootout between a group of kids and another person in the parking lot Saturday night.
FOX8 went to city leaders to find out how they’re making shoppers feel safe.
At this point, Mayor Allen Joines and Councilmember Kevin Mundy, who represents the area, do not feel the need for the city to step in.
They say the property hasn’t reached the threshold to become a nuisance and warrant city intervention.
Shoppers feel differently.
“It’s becoming part of regular news. In the past, you would only hear about it every once in a while,” said Cesar Gurrero, whose wife shops at the mall.
Belk, Forever 21 and the parking lot are all places on Hanes Mall property where guns have done damage.
Gurrero worries his wife who enjoys shopping could get hurt.
“I’m trying to convince her not to go anymore because of what I’m hearing because these are random acts, so there’s no way of knowing when it’s going to happen,” Gurrero said.
“I would say the mall is a safe place to go, but I would understand citizen concerns about it,” Mayor Allen Joines said.
Mayor Joines says communication with mall leaders is key to protecting the community.
“It’s a large facility…and you can’t have an officer every hundred feet or so. As long as they are taking the advice we are giving them, I think that’s one thing we will be looking for,” Joines said.
“To the outsider looking in, it might not look like we’re being effective…we are, and I really do think our police department is making a big difference,” Mundy said.
Mundy wants to see more business owners get involved with the Connect Winston-Salem program. It allows police to access business security camera footage in real time.
“It may be that we need to put the pressure on some of those retailers at the mall to register so we can in fact start tracking down who these criminals are,” Mundy said.
Currently, Hanes Mall is not involved in the program.
A mall spokesperson did say they are open to the program and any other ideas the police department has to keep people safe.