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January 9, 2019 -
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Security is one of the more challenging aspects of a facility manager’s job. It also can be one of the most controversial. Ensuring the safety of occupants is a top priority, but it’s a delicate balance between measures designed to enhance security and those that negatively affect an occupant’s experience — difficult access control procedures, for example — or make it more difficult to use the building. Water Tower Place in Chicago recently enacted a controversial security measure intended to make occupants and shoppers safer, but it has drawn criticism. The owner of the mall in the facility, Brookfield Properties, has instituted a curfew for unaccompanied minors. After 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, security officers will card people entering the facilities, and if visitors are under 18, they will not be admitted unless accompanied by an adult over 21. The policy “is intended to help provide a safe, peaceful experience at our shopping center,” says Mitch Feldman, senior general manager of Water Tower Place in a news release, according to the Chicago Tribune. A growing number of malls and other facilities are enacting curfews. The Mall of America in Minneapolis has had a similar policy since 1996. But Water Tower Place is the first in Illinois to use this policy. Critics say the policy unfairly targets minorities. “Once these kinds of rules are in place, there’s too much of an opportunity here for some sort of racial inequality,” says a representative from the American Civil Liberties Union.
Greg Zimmerman is executive editor of Building Operating Management. Read his cover story on how buildings are tackling climate change.