Lenox Square will install metal detectors to increase security

Lenox Square officials have decided to install metal detectors in an attempt to increase security after a spate of incidents near the upscale Buckhead mall.

Mall officials did not say when they would install the metal detectors or where in the mall they would be located. Simon Properties, which owns Lenox Square and other malls in the metro area, said it will also add K-9 units on the premises.

“Individuals flagged by the K-9 unit or the metal detection system will be approached by (Atlanta police) and directed to immediately leave the property if they are found to be carrying a firearm,” the mall said in a news release.

The announcements come after heightened concerns about safety in the area following several shootings in the past year, highlighted by recent incidents in November and early December.

A man was hospitalized after being shot in the buttocks in the Apple store in the mall Nov. 20. Officers said he was involved in a fight with a group of men when someone fired a gun and then fled the scene. No arrests have been made.

Police announced the next day they would be adding more officers at Lenox.

In a separate incident, a gun was fired in the mall Dec. 5. Atlanta police said it was fired by accident, and no one was injured. In a statement, police said a man was adjusting the waistband of his pants while walking through a store when the gun went off.

During business hours, the property is continuously monitored by 14 or more off-duty Atlanta police officers and more than 10 private security officers, who utilize patrol cars, UTVs and Segways to patrol in and around the property. Officials said Lenox is one of the most surveilled environments in Atlanta and has 18 times more security personnel by square acre than the city of Atlanta, with security extending to when the property is closed.

“We invest significantly in security and will continue to do so to ensure the safety of our community,” the statement read.

“These measures facilitate real-time monitoring by APD and ensure that individuals that commit crimes will be identified and arrested. In fact, apprehensions are regularly made in incidents occurring at Lenox Square. Our message to would-be criminals is simple: think twice before committing a crime at Lenox Square because you will be caught.”

The Buckhead Coalition said it supports the increased security measures.

“Simon is doing their part to address the increase in crime we have been experiencing in Buckhead, just as the Buckhead Coalition and our many partners are doing through the implementation of our Buckhead Security Plan,” Buckhead Coalition president Jim Durrett told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Simon will be a partner in testing new technology to aid in crime deterrence and law enforcement.”