Mall Safety A Concern After Terrorist Attack In Kenya

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UPDATED: Monday September 23, 2013 6:33 PM

Shopping malls are considered a soft target for criminals because of the lack of security at entrances.  

But one central Ohio terrorist expert says that's a bit deceiving.

"These malls can tell if large pieces of metal go in or out, and there are cameras monitoring inside and outside," said Craig Jenkins of the Mershon Center for International Security Studies. "That's a routine process."

Jenkins has been studying international terrorist groups for decades.

The terrorist mall attack in Kenya, carried out by a Somali group linked to al Qaeda, has many asking if a similar attack could happen here.

In 2007, Nuradin Abdi, a Somali citizen in Columbus was sentenced to 10 years in prison after admitting he sought training to carry out attacks on a mall.

Also that year, a 19-year-old man killed eight people at a mall in Omaha, Neb., and an 18 year old killed five people in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Last year, a 22-year-old gunman killed two people and himself at a mall in Portland, Ore.

But Jenkins says the possibility of an organized terrorist attack is small.

"The reality is that the odds are so remote that I'm more worried about getting hit by a truck leaving campus tonight," said Jenkins.  "Terrorists know that potential decision makers who could decide that the U.S. doesn't want to do something in foreign policy - a mall isn't going to influence them."

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