Watch CBS News

LAPD, Sheriff: No Threat To Southern California Shopping Malls

LOS ANGELES ( — Southern California law enforcement officials say there is no credible threat to the region's malls, in spite of a terrorist group video calling for attacks on shopping malls in Canada.

"We have to not be paranoid or over-anxious about this," Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Michael Downing said.

Downing, head of the LAPD's counter-terrorism unit, said the video from a Somalia-based terror group appears to be a "motivational" type of message, perhaps in an attempt to encourage homegrown terror groups or individuals.

"It's not like there's any imminent attack," he said.

As a precaution, LAPD officials have reached out to shopping mall operators to provide them with basic information and ensure security is in place.

"It's not like there's any imminent attack," he said.

Nicole Nishida of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department also stressed there is "no known specific, credible threat to the Los Angeles area malls."

"Our sheriff's stations work collaboratively with our mall partners, and regularly train with them on active shooter exercises and other threats relating to mall security," she said. "We remain vigilant when patrolling commercial retail space within sheriff's jurisdiction, and urge the public to remain aware, and if they see something suspicious to contact local law enforcement."

Westfield Corp., which operates various malls in the Southland, issued a statement saying it "will take every available step to keep our shopping centers safe for staff, retailers and customers."

"Westfield Corporation's policy is to not publicly disclose security procedures, however our heads of security in the U.S. and U.K. continue to coordinate their activities with police and government agencies," according to the company "As usual, significant resources continue to be devoted to security arrangements in our shopping centers and they continue to operate as normal."

Downing said residents, as always, should have their "attention cycle raised a little bit" and always be on the lookout for suspicious activity. The department has a special hotline for reporting possible terror threats at (877) A-THREAT, or (877) 284-7328.

In Orange County, Newport Beach Assistant Police Chief David McGill said patrols have been beefed up around Fashion Island since the videotaped threat surfaced.

"We've got officers doing a little extra patrol over the next couple of days," McGill said, while stressing that his department has not received "any credible threat specific to Fashion Island."

But in law enforcement circles, "this has been the chatter all over the past several days since the video came out, so all law enforcement is ramping up a little bit," McGill said. "Whenever these things happen, we take it seriously and redouble our efforts."

The terrorist video mentioned the 2013 attack at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, and it made specific reference to the Mall of America in Minnesota.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.