Mall Fights in Meriden Prompt Higher Police Presence

Police are stepping up patrols at the Westfield Shopping Center in Meriden in light of three recent fights that have shoppers in edge.

According to Meriden councilman Kevin Scarpati, police met with city officials and mall representatives Wednesday to address neighbors' concerns.

Since Dec. 20, police have dealt with three bouts of violence involving both teens and adults.

Scarpati said data from the past three years indicates no significant uptick in mall fights but officials are fighting the perception that the shopping center is unsafe.

Westfield already hires an officer to work four hours Friday nights, the busiest time of the week, and will commission two more policemen from the Neighborhood Initiative Unit to spend 15 percent of their shifts at the mall, Scarpati said.

The extra officers will spend two months on the job, at which point officials will reassess to see if their presence is making a difference.

They could start as early as next week and come at no additional cost to the city, according to Scarpati.

Officials will address mall safety at a public safety meeting next month.

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