Right at the top of the list for the best mall security guard jobs in and around Joliet you find an opportunity in Bolingbrook. At least according to the website Simply Hired.
It’s a part-time unarmed security guard job paying $12 an hour.
Granted, that’s up in Bolingbrook and not in Joliet. But you have to imagine the going rate can’t be much different for working security at the Louis Joliet Mall. It may even be more lucrative.
After all, security guards at the Louis mall have to enforce a strict code of conduct that prohibits such things as running, not to mention “skating, skateboarding, hoverboards, bicycling and all other forms of ‘horse play.’ ”
Not only that, but the code of conduct expressly stipulates, “Visible undergarments are not permitted. Sagging pants in a manner that exposes undergarments is prohibited.”
You also can’t sit on the floor.
So that’s a lot to keep track of. And on top of all of this, mall security must contend with a vacant Carson’s department store, one which will soon be joined by an empty Sears store.
The Carson’s closed a couple of months ago. In its last days it slashed prices and was even trying to sell off the store mannequins. The crowd of mannequins for sale made for a pretty creepy scene. It was worse than a Halloween store.
Sears is supposed to shut down by the end of the year. Sears and Carson’s were two of the mall’s four anchor stores, along with Macy’s and JCPenney. Those two are still in business, but with half its anchors away, the mall seems to have drifted into troubled waters.
Still, mall security looks like it’s holding the line, which is no mean feat when you consider what happens to vacant places around here.
We’ve seen it all before. Vandals sneak in and set fires and break things. And make YouTube videos. And that can’t be tolerated.
The city of Joliet was faced with this problem when trespassers started slipping inside the old, abandoned prison on Collins Street. They had to put police there around the clock and it ended up running about $500,000 for part of a year, which is a great bargain compared with the $800,000 former City Manager David Hales first figured it was going to cost.
Hales, incidentally, managed to collect close to $100,000 on top of his $215,000 salary for ending his three-year-contract two years and a month before it was up. The city also agreed not to stand in the way if Hales wants to collect unemployment, which he may need to do if he has trouble finding another job and things get tight for him.
After Hales told the council it might cost $800,000 for police to keep vandals out of the prison for part of a year, cheaper solutions were sought and one was found. The city decided to buy a camera system for about $132,000.
Once the system’s installed, it will only cost $10,000 a year to run it. That’s a lot better than the hundreds of thousands for police but seems less effective than an existing, affordable solution the city isn’t even talking about.
You have security guards at the mall making probably around $12 an hour and they have had exactly zero problems with vandals or arsonists at the vacant Carson’s in the two months since it closed. You could have a mall cop at the prison all day, every day, 52 weeks a year for around $100,000. That sounds like a lot, but it is a lot less than $800,000 and is not even as much as $500,000.
It’s true the camera system is even less expensive than round-the-clock mall cop patrols, but a camera isn’t going to stop anyone from breaking in or setting a fire. It will only record them doing it. A mall security guard, on the other hand, could observe and report, and then pursue and detain trespassers spotted inside the walls of the Old Joliet Prison.
At that point, it only makes sense to lock these scofflaws up in the old cells inside the old prison. At least until they have their day in court. That would add some character to the place for the men and women paying to take tours of the historic penitentiary. It would be just like the good old days, when people were incarcerated there in tiny cells and deprived of their liberty.
With the prison finally secured at a much lower rate of pay, the city could turn its attention to the historic preservation of the mall, where half its anchor stores have abandoned ship.
The Sears, at least, was sort of historic. It was one of the original stores when the mall first opened way back in 1978. There’s no reason they can’t charge tourists money to walk around in there. It might even be sort of spooky once it’s empty except for the mannequins no one wanted to buy.
• Joe Hosey is the editor of The Herald-News. You can reach him at 815-280-4094, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JoeHosey.