After dozens of fights broke out at malls across the country on Monday, police in Massachusetts are offering advice on how to prepare in the event you or your child gets caught up in a melee.
The brawl at Buckland Hills in Manchester, Connecticut, was one of several at shopping centers across the county that sent shoppers scrambling for the exits.
Eight people were arrested in Connecticut after multiple people were seen throwning punches. In New Jersey, police responded with guns drawn after a someone yelled, 'gun,' after a fight inside the Jersey Gardens Mall.
Last month, police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, were forced to use pepper spray to breakup an unruly crowd of more than 1,000 people at the Cambridgeside Galleria Mall.
Massachusetts police say it's important for parents to have a conversation with their children about participating in or recording fights on their cell phones. Authorities also say it's a good idea to separate yourself from the chaos, if at all possible.
“You don’t want to be standing near the altercation,” said Newton Police Lt. Bruce Apotheker. “If you’re in a store and the fight breaks out toward the entrance of the store, try to go toward the back of the store.”
Police also suggest if can leave the mall, try to get as far away as possible and call for help.
“We don’t know why these people are fighting. You don’t know if anyone has a weapon,” Apotheker said.
The majority of the fights that have been taking place are being captured on cell phones. Police say if you do see a fight, don’t pull out your phone and start recording.
“If we find out there’s evidence we need to see on your cell phone. We’ll try to get a warrant and seize your phone,” Apotheker said.
While police stress the majority of malls are safe, shoppers say the uptick in fights has them more cautious.
“You have to be aware of your surroundings constantly,” said shopper Dean Bamford.