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Chief Jerman: Lindale Mall is Safe

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- It is the question that many in Cedar Rapids have on their minds Is Lindale Mall safe?

Absolutely, responds police Chief Wayne Jerman, as he sat in his office Wednesday afternoon. I frequent it, my family frequents it, I'm not going to shy away from Lindale mall.

This comes as video of a brawl at the mall last month surfaces, raising questions and concerns, In the video, you can see people hitting each other with chairs and throwing punches right in the middle of the malls food court.

Chief Jerman says more serious charges could be coming, including disorderly conduct, criminal mischief, or assault with injury.

Now attention turns to why the fight happened. Jerman says despite some gang presence here in the city, he doesnt think its gang related.

We have nothing to substantiate those allegations, specifically that that this was a gang initiation.

Chief Jerman claims it's a byproduct of teens and young adults gathering at the mall.

What's happening at Lindale Mall happens at malls across America, he says. Their behavior rises to a level that violates the code of conduct of the mall or rises to be disorderly.

When it comes to disorder, numbers provided by CRPD show the number of mall disturbances calls - like complaints of someone yelling  - are up from 2012.

As for actual fights, in 2012, police responded to 6 calls. From January 2013 through today, they've tallied the same number of calls for fights.

Compared to previous years there's nothing that alarms me, Chief Jerman said.

Still the most recent fight is catching his attention.

We've increased our foot patrols and the visibility of our uniformed officers there, Jerman said. The beat officers have always been interacting with mall security.

While mall security helps, they cant always do it alone.

They're certainly not trained or equipped to handle an incident of that magnitude, but we are, Jerman said.

Chief Jerman says he is comfortable with the way things are structured in terms of security at the mall and right now he sees no reason to have officers patrolling inside the mall full time.
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