Mall Robberies: Shoppers’ Safety Cannot Depend on "Business as Usual" Approach
Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
Following a successful meeting held today between the Provincial SAPS management, the Department of Community Safety, Business Against Crime and the management of Canal Walk, I am confident that mall safety is being addressed with the urgency it deserves.
Though I cannot divulge the specific measures taken by the Canal Walk management, or broader interventions put in place by the SAPS to investigate and clamp down on these incidents; I am confident that SAPS’ willingness to assist mall management, the information that has been shared and the proactive measures taken by the Canal Walk management, in this instance, will help protect shoppers, tenants and visitors to Canal Walk.
I welcome the fact that all parties understood the severity of the situation and have undertaken to address it with the necessary urgency. I also welcome the unilateral agreement from all parties involved that the recent spate of robberies at shops and shopping centres cannot rely on a business-as-usual approach to security measures and interventions.
I will also be conducting oversight visits to shopping centres, as I believe this will help to not only ensure the safety of people in the province but to also build meaningful partnerships between the private sector, the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Department of Community Safety in the Western Cape, aimed at creating safer environments.
I urge shopping centres and stores across the province, to ensure that their security measures are not only sufficient, but of a good quality as well. Security provision is a lucrative business in South Africa. Shop and mall management should ensure their service providers adhere to the industry standards. For example, where CCTV cameras are in use, these should be well maintained (clean lenses for instance), the feed should be of good quality (to be able to identify people), and the camera angles should be considered as well.
Shopping centre management should also form working partnerships with their local SAPS stations and the provincial SAPS for assistance where necessary. The police cannot be everywhere at the same time. It is everyone’s responsibility to help ensure safety where we live, work, and shop.
The people of the province should assist the police with information regarding suspects and work with police sketch artists to draw up identikits, alert the police or security to suspicious behaviour and never take their own safety for granted.
Through a united approach, by working Better Together, we can close down the loopholes through which these opportunistic criminals operate.
Spokesperson for Minister Plato
Cell: 079 694 1113