Commercial property

20 August 2009 00:00

Shopping malls under siege

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Robberies, killings haven't deterred customers, for now - shopping centre heavyweight

The crime wave that has hit shopping centres hasn't deterred customers, for now. But shopping centre owners are developing plans to protect businesses and customers.

Michael Broughton, director of Consumer Goods Council of SA and the SA Council of Shopping Centres, said the council is looking at individual shopping centres and what crime-prevention programmes they have in place and what needs to be improved.

The council is involved in the business sector's commitment to help in the fight against crime and has been looking at crime in the shopping centres and the retail environment since 2001.

Broughton was speaking to host Alec Hogg on SAfm Market Update on Moneyweb on the retail crime indaba on shopping malls held on Monday after a recent spate of robberies, mostly in Gauteng..

He said crime-prevention efforts  will not just protect big malls in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg but small ones too around the city.

The objective of the indaba was to examine crime prevention measures the various role players have implemented in the stores and the shopping centres. Also, to uncover what else, or what new measures, must be implemented in view of the ever-changing nature of the crime faced by South Africans daily, he said.

The council said at the indaba that the community needs to understand that, while it will take every reasonable measure to protect the lives of customers and staff at shopping centres, it is not in a position to address the root causes of crime.

Despite this wave of attacks on shopping malls, there hasn't been any drop in footfall traffic at shopping malls, he said.

However, Broughton could not say what shoppers could do to protect themselves were they to be caught in the robbery while at a shopping centre.

"Unfortunately when it does happen, it's there. But statistically, chances of being involved in one of these are very very small."

Last week, National Commissioner for the South African Police Service (SAPS) Bheki Cele and Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Khabisi Mosunkutu said there will be an increased focus on crime particularly on business and house robberies and vehicle hijackings.

Police visibility will be increased in crime hotspots including shopping malls, the MEC said last week.

In Gauteng alone in the past few weeks, at least seven shopping malls have been robbed and these include: a jewellery store in Fourways Mall; a Coin Security Guard who was robbed at Killarney Mall; one person was shot and killed at a parking lot in San Ridge Centre in Midrand; Pick'n Pay in Gallor Manor was robbed; the head of Protea Coin guarding divison was shot and killed during a robbery at Irene Village Mall in Pretoria; Pick'n Pay, and a chemist in Bracken City Mall in Alberton also came under attack; and ,at the Trade Route Mall in Lenasia last week one person was killed and another wounded during an armed robbery by eight men.

Also read: Shopping mall robbery shocker

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