Eastwood Mall Businesses Receive Extra Layer of Security
NILES, Ohio – Businesses and shoppers can now enjoy a constant reminder of security with the new Niles Police Eastwood Mall Substation.
The substation was unveiled Friday morning in the mall’s food court, next to Salvatore’s Pizzeria. The substation is an addition to the already patrolling officers, offering them a space to step into to perform tasks without having to return to the station.
Niles police Chief Jay Holland said this is something that has been talked about since he was a young patrol officer.
“It is something that has been talked about for decades, but we finally have the right management team at the mall and the right administration at the police department to work together and overcome all of the obstacles that were impeding this in the past.”
“This is our largest retail area in the city, and it’s a large economic driver for the city, so we do get a fair amount of calls for service here,” he added.
Holland said this will not decrease the amount of officers patrolling the streets, and no full-time officers will be assigned there.
Four to six officers patrol the city regularly, with at least one car at the mall area, Holland said. This number usually increases during the holidays.
“There is going to be more officer presence here at the Eastwood Mall doing things we normally do here anyway,” he said.
The substation will allow for quicker response time for businesses and more visibility of police to act as a crime deterrence.
“That’s how we benefit the businesses here,” he said. “Increased police presence is going to deter crime.”
Joe Bell, director of corporate communication for Cafaro Co., the parent company of Eastwood Mall, said this project has been talked about for more than a decade.
“We always thought that this would be a great idea to have a place where the Niles police could be able to bring in people who they need to talk to or they can finish reports,” he said. “Eastwood Mall Complex is huge, and it’s the economic center of the county, so it makes sense that we pay great attention to security.”
Bell said they have had a lot of corporate effort with Niles police over the years, such as regular patrols and the Flock Safety cameras, which they began installing last August.
“It was a natural extension of that to want to do a substation,” he said. “We have done it in several of our other malls, [and] it’s a great place where the public can see high visibility in terms of the police department.”
If officers have a need to stop and question someone, make an arrest, take a statement or finish reports, the space will be available to them.
The inside also has links to the mall’s video system.
“They are in a place that is actually an extension of their natural headquarters,” Bell said.
Police will also have their own dedicated parking spots.
Although Bell said the public should already feel safe, he said this will enhance that feeling.
Additionally, if one of the businesses in the mall is having a security issue, Bell said this will help them find and talk to officers quickly, rather than calling the police department to find one.
“There may be instances where they wanted to meet somebody to talk about a case, talk about a situation [or] if someone has a complaint – this may be more convenient for them to do that than to have someone come down from the city police department and do that,” he said.
Mayor Steve Mientkiewcz said there is no better way of ensuring safety at the mall than by having a police substation in the city.
“We are very excited to have the first police substation in the city of Niles located right here in the Eastwood Mall Complex,” he said. “We often say that the Eastwood Mall Complex is not only the economic driver of the city of Niles, but Trumbull County as a whole, and we recognize the benefits of keeping the Eastwood Mall safe in the city of Niles.”
Anthony Cafaro Jr., co-president of Cafaro Co., said it has always been a priority to keep shoppers and workers at the mall safe and feeling secure.
“Mayor Mientkiewcz has been very instrumental in spearheading this, along with Chief Jay Holland, and they really enabled this to occur, along with the support of the City Council administration,” he said. “It is great to be here today to see this finally come to fruition.”
Cafaro said the mall has contributed the space at no rent, and the city of Niles continues to be proactive with multiple programs throughout the city.
“It’s been a great partnership, and that’s why we are glad to have the Eastwood Mall as a very safe environment for everyone,” he said.
Due to the strong partnership between the city and mall, Cafaro said he believes there is more to collaborate on now that officers have a physical presence.
“I don’t think it [this project] is done,” he said. “I think it is just the beginning.”
Pictured at top: From left, Anthony Cafaro Jr., co-president of Cafaro Co.; Niles police Chief Jay Holland; and Niles Mayor Steve Mientkiewcz outside the new Niles Police Eastwood Mall Substation.
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.