More police on patrol at Square One in Mississauga


Published March 21, 2024 at 3:47 pm

Incident at Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga.

An increase in crime at Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga has brought additional police officers and security guards to the huge mall in a concerted effort to clamp down on violence and robberies.

A recent spike in “smash-and-grab” jewelry store heists across the GTA and southern Ontario includes a Jan. 17 robbery at Square One.

Four masked men armed with hammers burst into a jewelry shop just before 4 p.m. that day and began smashing display cases and grabbing jewelry pieces. They quickly fled the store with an undisclosed amount of jewelry.

Peel Regional Police said at the time it was fortunate none of the employees of the store were injured.

That robbery and a spate of similar violent heists have, in part, prompted Square One and several of its retailers to enhance security via the hiring of both Peel police paid-duty officers and private security guards, police and Square One told

Additionally, Peel police have bolstered their presence at the major shopping centre since the beginning of the year in response to other criminal activity as well. And they topped up their ranks during March break last week in anticipation of more youths hanging out at the mall, potentially getting up to no good.

“Smash-and-grab” jewelry store robberies, such as this one in Brampton that was caught on video, are a concern to Square One and other GTA shopping centres. (Image: Peel Regional Police video)

At 2.2 million square feet in size and with more than 360 stores, Square One is the largest shopping centre in Ontario and second-largest in Canada. It welcomes some 24 million customers each year.

Like other large shopping malls, though, it also draws a good number of people looking to commit crimes — from shoplifting and swarming unsuspecting victims for their running shoes to more serious criminal activity that includes “smash-and-grab” robberies and armed heists.

In a proactive move last December, Square One management and Peel police got together to run a two-week enforcement blitz targeting Christmas and holiday season shoplifters.

Extra cops were deployed to walk the aisles alongside holiday shoppers and keep a sharp lookout for offenders.

The initiative led to 60 arrests for shoplifting and other offences and the recovery of more than $43,000 in stolen goods.

Peel cops have added more than 10 officers to Square One patrols

On a Friday afternoon earlier this month, a Square One shopper contacted to report they’d spotted a “noticeable” increase in the number of police officers patrolling the busy mall.

Peel police Const. Tyler Bell-Morena confirmed the increased presence, telling in an interview that beefed-up ranks — 10 or so personnel including uniformed officers, plainclothes cops and members of the force’s bike patrol — have been in place at the shopping centre since January.

They’re at the mall to combat a wide range of criminal activity, he continued, both inside the mall and outside, notably in and around the nearby bus terminal known as a hangout for groups of teens.

He said Square One has been increasingly identified as “a higher crime area” and “a central hub where youths congregate.”

An increase in loitering among youths has led to more skirmishes, assaults and robberies, Bell-Morena added, and the more serious “smash-and-grab” jewelry store heists bring an added element of danger to the area and “can lead to complete pandemonium” at times.

Still, the added police enforcement is working as a deterrent to a large degree, he noted.

Retail theft on the rise

“It’s amazing how a few police cruisers and uniformed police officers” will dramatically reduce the loitering, said Bell-Morena.

He also applauded Square One management and several high-end stores for being proactive in seeking the additional police and security help.

A Square One spokesperson told in an email the popular Mississauga shopping centre isn’t alone in its fight against crime.

“Unfortunately, retail theft is on the rise and it is an issue facing all shopping centres in the GTA,” the spokesperson said, adding “guest and employee safety is our top priority at Square One.”

The Square One official said keeping people at the mall as safe as possible, and protecting against thefts, is a collaborative effort.

“Square One security officers patrol the centre at all times and escalate any safety concerns to Peel Regional Police,” the spokesperson said, noting Square One’s “enhanced security and surveillance allows us to immediately respond to any incidents and assist Peel Regional Police with investigations.”

Peel police paid-duty officers and additional security “have also been hired to support our efforts. Several retailers have enhanced their security to further deter theft,” the spokesperson for Square One added.

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