February 12, 2014

CHANGE: Why indoor shopping malls have lost their cachet.

So, why don’t luxury shoppers like indoor malls anymore?

The one word answer: crime. Violent crime in the United States roughly tripled between 1965 and 1975 and remained at a high plateau, spiking occasionally above it, from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s. That coincides (“the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s”) with the vogue for enclosed malls. Shoppers couldn’t count on the public sector police to protect them, but they have more faith in the private police that patrolled enclosed malls. Those malls were private property: suspicious characters could be kept out.

With crime down sharply since the mid-1990s, shoppers are no longer so fearful. So outdoor malls (often with covered parking available) are more attractive. The market is responding to changes in consumer preference, changes which reflect changes in (accurate) perceptions of the risk of being a victim of a violent crime.


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