>but it was only later that I'd heard that indeed the place began to be routinely targeted by gangs of black teenagers who'd often steal or even assault other shoppers and if nothing else be typically overly loud and obnoxious.
I'm thinking Colin Flaherty is right, and that black violence might be 10-20% or even more of the problem, of course depending on the locale. That might not seem like a lot, but it's enough to sabotage efforts to rescue malls in general. There are a lot of things that could have been done to transform malls into attractions, like ice skating rinks, rock climbing, much better quality restaurants than the typical food court, and food in general. If they had worked to bring the big health food chains into malls, that would have gone a long way.
As noted before, the high-end malls are still doing fine. Some of that is they don't care about saving money on Amazon, but also they have implemented some of the above, like better restaurants, and they are by their nature going to have much tighter security. The one high-end I remember was smaller than a regular mall, had all of these expensive designer stores like Tiffany in it, and had none of the "fun" vibe that bigger malls attempt to have. It was never that busy, but everyone in there went to buy, so they probably did really well. The issue with malls built around entertainment and making things fun is that this will attract more blacks.