Which Southwest Florida shopping centers put you most at risk?

Posted at 1:21 PM, Jul 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-21 13:21:19-04

When you're heading out to shop, you're probably thinking of where you can get the best deals or which mall has your favorite shops.  But another big factor in deciding where to spend your paycheck is safety.  So which mall is the safest?

Fox asked shopper if there any malls they don't feel as safe at, and one mall was often named:

"Edison Mall."

"I don't go to Edison at night."

"I haven't felt safe shopping at the Edison Mall in years. So I just don't go there."

"Just in general it has that reputation of not being as safe."

But does this reputation of danger reflect the truth?  Fox 4 did some digging, requesting the law enforcement call outs over the last year from Edison Mall, Coconut Point Mall, the Bell Tower Shops, and Gulf Coast Town Center, all in Lee County.  We also checked on the Coastland Center Mall in Naples and the Port Charlotte Town Center.

The results may surprise you.

Shoppers believing Edison Mall is the most dangerous point to a recent purse snatching case.  A surveillance camera in the little girl's section of the Dillards captured the terrifying moment when a man pushed a woman to the ground for her purse and took off.

Well Edison Mall has had two other robberies in the last year, more than any other mall we researched.

But when it comes to thefts and burglaries, Port Charlotte Town Center and Coastland Mall topped the list.

The Bell Tower Shops take the lead when it comes to suspicious case call outs, tied with Edison Mall.

Coastland Center Mall has the most batteries and threats.

Law enforcement even responded to sex assaults and offenses: two at Port Charlotte Town Center and one at Edison Mall.

"It's getting to a point where you have to watch your back everywhere you go," says one shopper.

The Gulf Coast Town Center is the only mall which had "Shots fired" call outs; two, after the sheriff's office report says a fight broke out at a bar, with a guard hearing six gunshots coming from the parking lot.

Louisa John was there.  "I ran into one of the stores and felt ok."

But what about overall crime?  Which mall had the most call outs for the crimes we told researched?  The Port Charlotte Town Center takes the top spot with 118 calls for service, with Coastland Center Mall coming in second.

It's important to point out that Naples Police did not send us a complete list of call outs, leaving out suspicious and sexual cases.

These findings help shoppers realize crime knows no boundaries, taking it upon themselves to stay safe.

"Park under your lights, remember where your car is."

"Don't go out to the parking lot by yourself when it's dark."

"I will either go with someone else or I will ask one of the employees at the store there to walk out with me to my vehicle."


Break-Down of Law Enforcement Call-Outs for each Mall

Edison Mall:
- Theft/burglary: 19
- Robbery: 2
- Suspicious cases: 27
- Battery/threat: 1
- Shots fired: 0
- Sex assaults/offenses: 1

Coconut Point Mall:

- Theft/burglary: 5
- Robbery: 0
- Suspicious cases: 15
- Battery/threat: 3
- Shots fired: 0
- Sex assaults/offenses: 0

Gulf Coast Town Center:

- Theft/burglary: 6
- Robbery: 0
- Suspicious cases: 23
- Battery/threat: 2
- Shots fired: 2
- Sex assaults/offenses: 0

Bell Tower Shops:

- Theft/burglary: 18
- Robbery: 1
- Suspicious cases: 27
- Battery/threat: 0
- Shots fired: 0
- Sex assaults/offenses: 0

Coastland Center Mall:

- Theft: 85
- Burglary: 5
- Robbery: 0
- Suspicious cases: N/A
- Battery/threat: 8
- Shots fired: 0
- Sex assaults/offenses: N/A

Port Charlotte Town Center:

- Theft/burglary: 96
- Robbery: 1
- Suspicious cases: 17
- Battery/threat: 2
- Shots fired: 0
- Sex assaults/offenses: 2


**Note: This report was initially filed in May 2016.