MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – We’re a little more than a week away from the official start to the holiday shopping season, and one Mobile mall will be getting a little extra help to make sure holiday shoppers stay safe.
Kosmo, a 3-year-old, friendly canine, joins the Shoppes at Bel Air team on Thursday, November 15. Kosmo will be part of the shopping center’s public security program. The mall says part of his job will be helping to ensure a safe, welcoming environment for the community. Kosmo will stand alongside his handler and K-9 officer as they patrol the mall.
Many people News 5 spoke with about the addition say it’s a welcome change to the mall.
“We don’t go there anymore,” said George Spragg.
Spragg lives in Mobile, but says he does most of his shopping across the bay on the Eastern Shore.
“It’s just a different atmosphere, just feel a little bit safer,” said Spragg.
He said he and his family no longer go to the Shoppes at Bel Air. When we asked why, he said fights.
Last Thanksgiving, Mobile police responded to a shooting in the parking lot of the mall. No one was hurt, but two families’ vehicles were hit. Then in July, Mobile police responded to a shooting inside of the Shoppes at Bel Air. No one was hurt in that shooting, either.
Spragg isn’t the only one who has stopped going to the mall because they felt unsafe.
“Sometimes you come in the afternoon, late, you can,” one woman told us about feeling unsafe.
The mall will debut Kosmo Thursday morning. Most people News 5 spoke with thought that was a good idea. “You have a lot of people out this time of year shopping, so for the safety especially of the females,” one man told News 5.
Spragg says he would give the mall a second chance with the news that they are taking steps to improve safety.
“I think anything to make the shoppers feel more secure, you know would be a big plus for them,” said Spragg.
News 5 will be at the mall for Kosmo’s first day on patrol.