Schaumburg preparing to require entrance barriers at Woodfield, other buildings

In the wake of a Palatine man driving an SUV through an entrance at Woodfield Mall last month, Schaumburg trustees appear set to pass a measure requiring barriers at certain commercial buildings in the village.

A vote is scheduled Tuesday to direct the village staff to draft a proposed local law in the coming weeks.

Among the questions to be decided first are which buildings would be affected by the requirement and how soon their owners must comply.

"My sense is that this is something we'd want to do sooner rather than later," Schaumburg Police Chief Bill Wolf said.

While some commercial buildings in the village already have barriers at their entrances, more do not, Wolf said. Of the 40 business entrances at Woodfield, only nine are protected.

Mall management made it clear last month that it has barriers at all the entrances it controls. The other entrances, such as the Sears doors the SUV plowed through Sept. 20, are controlled by individual tenants.

Though protection from targeted attacks is often the motive for installing barriers, accidents and negligent driving have been more common reasons to have them, police officials said. Over the past 15 years, Schaumburg police have responded to 176 crashes involving buildings - most caused by medical issues or negligence.

Varieties of barriers includes bollards, large planters, decorative concrete, curbing and fences. Devices that puncture tires also can be installed in restricted areas.

The price can range from about $1,400 to $20,000 per device. Barriers are often recommended to be about five feet apart, and some entrances at Woodfield could require 10 or more.

Wolf believes decorative planters can be as effective as bollards in deterring pickup trucks, SUVs and other vehicles in the range of 5,000 pounds. He pointed out that the Macy's store at Woodfield already has decorative concrete elements around its entrances.

The possibility of requiring barriers in Schaumburg was first formally discussed at a public safety committee meeting earlier this month.

Trustee Frank Kozak, who chairs the committee, said he isn't certain a draft ordinance could be ready for consideration before its next meeting on Nov. 14. But Wolf said it might be, given the amount of research that's already be done.

The draft ordinance would be put together by staff members from both the police and community development departments of the village.

Palatine resident Javier Garcia, 23, faces terrorism and criminal damage to property charges related to the Sept. 20 disturbance at Woodfield that authorities estimate caused more than $110,000 in damage but resulted in no serious injuries.

Garcia's defense attorney, Amil Alkass, has said prosecutors "overreached" with his client, who he says has mental health issues and did not possess the requisite intent to sustain terrorism charges.

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This is a frame grab taken from Twitter user Ronin Diedenhofen's captured video he made as an SUV drove through Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg on Sept. 20. Courtesy of Ronin Diedenhofen
  The front entrance of Sears at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg after an SUV drove through it on Sept. 20. Joe Lewnard/, Sept. 2019
This is a frame grab taken from Twitter user Ronin Diedenhofen's captured video he made as an SUV drove through Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg on Sept. 20. Courtesy of Ronin Diedenhofen
  The entrance of Sears at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg the day after an SUV drove through it and into the mall on Sept. 20. Mark Welsh/, Sept. 2019
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