Security change at mall after Christmas brawl
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is taking a big step to prevent another brawl like the one involving hundreds at River City Marketplace.
A plan has been put in motion to ramp up security at River City Marketplace, but because of what happened on Christmas evening, that plan is now on the fast track. On Christmas night, hundreds watched as two teenage girls got into a fistfight.
Ramco Gershenson manages the shopping complex, and the corporate communications office says in order to prevent this from happening again, it is tripling the number of off-duty cops patrolling the area. "We're beefing up security over the short term as a precautionary measure and also as a means to provide peace of mind to our shoppers so they can come and see there's more security in the area and feel comfortable," said Dawn Hendershot.
Moviegoers Action News spoke with say increased security may help customers feel more comfortable, and they hope the Christmas night brawl was an isolated incident. "We've never had any issues out here, so I think we're good. It’s just a bunch of kids getting themselves into mischief and didn't know what else to do with their time," said Karen Harms.
Ramco Gershenson is also trying something new in the new year: having law-enforcement present at all times through a JSO substation. That suggestion came from Sheriff John Rutherford. "I think that shoppers will feel better seeing security on site and more security officers there that will be visible, and that's our intent," said Hendershot.
There is no set date for when the River City Marketplace JSO substation will open, but extra security is expected to be present starting Friday night.
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