A mile-long pathway between Owings Mills Mall and the Metro station on Interstate 795 will be closed tomorrow and eventually torn up in response to the murder of an employee whose body was found on the path in September.
Mall security forces were increased immediately after Christina Marie Brown, 28, was found on Sept. 25, dead from a gunshot to the head. During the holiday season, the mall will operate a shuttle bus between the mall and the overflow parking lots, said Cathy Lickteig, director of public affairs for the Rouse Co., which manages the mall.
Patrons and mall employees who use the Metro will take a bus from the station to the mall instead of walking the path. Beginning tomorrow, signs and a barricade will block the winding, somewhat secluded asphalt pathway.
The buses will run every seven to 10 minutes during peak shopping hours, and every 20 to 40 minutes at other times. The mall has two, well-lighted bus stops.
"We think we have a safe mall, but some of our customers and merchants have requested additional security," said Ms. Lickteig, who would not say by how much security was increased. "We don't think it's wise to reveal our plans."
Hecht's, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue each have security forces, as does the mall, which is regularly patrolled by Baltimore County police.
Mike Rosenfeld, president of the Owings Mills Merchants Association, yesterday called the new security measures a "step in the right direction."
"The way things are today, you have to take precautions," said Mr. Rosenfeld, who has operated Scoops candy store for five years. "Instead of turning the other way, the mall management is dealing with the situation."
Dionne Ferrell, manager of Naturalizer, which sells women's shoes, said additional security was a good idea, especially during the holidays.
"We haven't had much problem," she said, "but the security here responds very quickly when we do."
Shannon Groman, a saleswoman at The Edge, an electronics store, said she hated going out to the parking lot or to the trash containers, especially at night.
"The area is well-lighted, but I just won't go out alone," she said. "We haven't had many problems, but I get a little nervous on the weekends, when we're very busy and you can't always watch what's going on."
On the day of her murder, Ms. Brown, an employee of a cleaning company under contract to Saks, had left work and was believed to be heading to her home in the 6600 block of Parr Ave. in Northwest Baltimore. Nigel Antonio Carter, 17, of the 2300 block of N. Rosedale St., has been charged as an adult for the murder.
Young Carter allegedly shot her after she resisted a robbery attempt. He was arrested Oct. 7, based on tips from anonymous sources. Bail was originally set at $100,000, but was raised to $1 million after Baltimore County police added robbery and deadly weapon charges to the murder charge. The dispute over bail ended when young Carter's attorney asked that his client be kept in jail for the youth's protection.
Police said the Carter youth was expelled from Harbor City School, an alternative high school in Baltimore, 10 days before the murder. Police did not know why he was expelled.
* Park as close as you can to your destination and in a well-lighted area.
* Keep purses closed and close to your body. Don't flash large sums of money. Put wallet in breast pocket.
* Know where your children are.
* Keep a list of the numbers on your credit cards and tear up all carbons.
* If someone approaches you outside the building, return to the building and ask for security.
* Have car keys in hand before you get to your car. Have house keys in hand before you get out of your car at home. Consider carrying a whistle.
* If someone approaches your car, lock doors, turn on headlights and sound your horn.
* Be aware of what's going on around you. Look in back seat before entering car.
* If someone demands your keys, give them the keys and anything else that is demanded. If your house keys are taken, have locks changed immediately.
* If you see someone you think might be a threat, get back in your car, lock your doors, and drive away.
* Report suspicious activity.