A petition requesting increased security for El Cajon’s Westfield Parkway Shopping Center is circulating online. The petition had a slow start, with only a handful of signatures in its first few weeks, but the number of signatures has risen since residents brought the matter to the El Cajon P.D.’s online neighborhood-watch forum.
The petition is now up to 50 signatures, but residents believe they will need hundreds to get Westfield to make changes. The ECPD invited Westfield management to a neighborhood-watch meeting on June 2. Though mall management appeared at the meeting, none of the attendees commented on the petition and it was never discussed.
Police department officials said they have a good relationship with Westfield, which is a part of their “safety corridor,” a group of businesses in the area that meets regularly to discuss community concerns.
Disgruntled former and present Parkway patrons have voiced concerns to police and mall officials regarding the number of juveniles “loitering and up to no good,” as stated by one petition-signer. The so-called “ghetto mall” has driven some residents to shop at malls farther away because they feel it is unsafe.
Teenagers and young adults smoking and engaging in inappropriate and “gang-type” activity within and around the mall entrances, thefts from stores, and vandalized or burglarized vehicles are the community’s main concerns. They suggest more cameras, security guards, and enforcement of the city’s smoking ordinance, which requires that smokers use the outposts situated at least 20 feet from any doorway or opening to shopping malls.
In late March, a 17-year-old stabbed a 19-year-old man in the mall’s parking lot after robbing him during daylight hours. Security guards helped police locate the fleeing suspect.