SAPS, Security and Retail Industries must work Together to keep Shoppers Safe
Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
The recent increase in robberies at shopping malls and stores requires a clear strategy from the South African Police Service (SAPS) in cooperation with the security and retail industries’ role players.
The strategy needs to be in place and communicated well ahead of the upcoming summer festive season, which has extended shopping hours and greater volumes of people frequenting malls and shops.
Shop and mall robberies have been on the increase not just in the Western Cape, but across the country with hard hit areas including Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. In Gauteng, the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) recently met with the SAPS to discuss malls safety for shoppers and retailers.
Similar pro-active action is necessary in the Western Cape.
In the last two weeks, media reports have indicated that areas and malls targeted include a store in the Tyger Valley Centre, one in Fish Hoek, Zevenwacht Mall in Kuils River, Blue Route Mall in Tokai and Canal Walk in Century City. In two apparent separate incidents earlier this year, in May and June, armed robbers dressed in SAPS uniforms robbed an ATM at the Promenade Mall in Mitchell’s Plain and a jewellery store in Green Point.
Store and mall owners need to ensure the safety of their premises and its customers and have to build a working relationship with their local SAPS station to ensure rapid response times in case of an emergency. Customers and the public at large should also be aware of what is being done to clamp down on these types of criminal activities as well as what to do, if ever they find themselves amidst a robbery in progress.
These are all considerations that need to be included in SAPS’ joint strategy.
I call on commercial business leaders and interest groups to proactively engage with the SAPS on their safety concerns and business policing requirements. I have put the issue of mall and store robberies on the agenda to be discussed with the provincial commissioner, Arno Lamoer, at our next meeting.
While I appreciate that the Police are busy working on plans to protect malls – these should be put in place and communicated to the public earlier, rather than later.
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