The South Bay Galleria is "very safe," and certainly not the "cesspool of crime" that the parents of a 13-year-old boy who received life-threatening injuries from a stabbing at the mall in December makes it out to be, Redondo Beach City Manager Bill Workman told the city council Tuesday night.
"The facts really speak for themselves," Workman said as he pointed out that there were only two aggravated assaults—the December double stabbing—at the Galleria over the past two years.
In a news conference on Monday, attorney Michael Adler and the family of the boy who was stabbed announced a lawsuit against Forest City Enterprises Inc., which owns the Galleria, and security company Andrews International Inc. on grounds of negligent. The family is alleging that both companies failed to "warn the public about the known danger of criminal activity" and failed "to provide adequate security and surveillance," among other charges.
The city of Redondo Beach is not named in the lawsuit.
"We were under the assumption that we were leaving our son in a safe place... obviously he wasn't safe," Maria Williams said. Her husband, Rich Williams, called the mall "a cesspool of crime."
Adler said that according to police records, there have been 128 crimes reported to police at the Galleria in the past three months—most of which were petty thefts.
Workman indicated that the only violent crimes that have occurred in the past two years were the stabbings.
"There are no cesspools in Redondo," said Councilman Pat Aust on Tuesday.
Nevertheless, Councilman Bill Brand pointed to a lingering public perception that the Galleria is unsafe.
"We can put the facts out and the crime stats, but the perception is still there, and it hurts the attendance at the Galleria," Brand said.
Police are still investigating the stabbings, according to police spokesman Sgt. Shawn Freeman. They've received dozens of leads through various channels, and are continuing to review surveillance video.
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- Police Release Sketch of Stabbing Suspect
- Stabbing Victim's Parents Speak Out
- Stabbing Victim's Family Sues South Bay Galleria