Braintree police open substation at South Shore Plaza

Dennis Tatz

South Shore Plaza has been a mecca for area shoppers over the years. Shoplifters, car thieves and scam artists have also stopped by to get a piece of the action from time to time.

Now, local police and Simon Property Group, the plaza’s owner, have done what they believe will make fighting crime a little easier and a lot more convenient.

Mayor Joseph Sullivan and other elected officials were on hand Wednesday for the official ribbon cutting ceremony to open a police substation at the plaza near the second floor food court.

“South Shore Plaza is a community within a community,” Sullivan said. “People need to have a sense of comfort and a sense of security.”

An estimated 35,000 people can be found each day at the plaza, the mayor said.

In the past, mall security would have to call police for help or to make arrests.

Now, two police officers will be assigned to the substation from 2 to 10 p.m. seven days week. Officers will be able to transmit reports through a computer system to save time before sending someone in custody to the police station lockup.

Police Chief Paul Frazier said local officials and plaza owners had talks about a substation in the past, but nothing was decided until recently.

“This substation will certainly benefit police officers and shoppers,” the chief said. “Simon has made a financial commitment to the town.”

The Simon group has agreed to reimburse the town the $110,000 annual cost for the two officers, who would continue to work with plaza security.

Plaza owners currently pay $4 million in real estate taxes, according to the tax collector’s office.

“We will see a more efficient process,” state Rep. Joseph Driscoll, D-Braintree, a former Norfolk County prosecutor, said. “It’s an important step in our partnership with Simon Properties.”

Sen. Brian A. Joyce, D-Milton, whose district includes the sprawling shopping center, called it a “win, win, win” situation.

Town Council President Leland Dingee, who was one of several councilors attending the event, said police presence was needed at the plaza.

“It’s basically a landmark,” Dingee said. “It’s an important resource for the town.”

Judy Tullius, who recently took over as mall manager, said Simon Properties has similar police substations at 40 other shopping malls. Simon bought the plaza in 1999.

“Our main goal is a commitment to provide a safe shopping experience,” Tullius said.

She said police visibility is clearly the key.

The plaza, which has 160 stores and 1.4 million square feet of space, is one of the five largest shopping malls in New England.

Mayor Sullivan said the town has an open-ended agreement with plaza owners to keep the police substation at the shopping center.

“Obviously, we will monitor it and see how well it does,” he said.

Dennis Tatz may be reached at

The Patriot Ledger