Shopping centre robberies drop 43 percent

While the number of robberies at shopping centres around South Africa almost halved last year – falling from R39-million to just over R20- million, the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa says that shop owners must remain vigilant at all times.

In a report released yesterday on the number of crimes at shopping centres around South Africa the CGCSA says that robberies committed at gunpoint during trading hours fell by 43% to 159 incidents.

Break-ins after hours – referred to as burglaries in the report – fell by 26% to 311 compared with figures for 2009. The highest number of armed robberies was recorded in 2005 when there were 421 incidents.

“The figures recorded last year are the lowest on record,” says Consumer Goods Risk Initiative manager, James Oosthuizen.

He commended the metropolitan police and the South African Police Service for the good work that they were doing in bringing down crime levels.

According to Oosthuizen, the best practices developed by the Council included advising staff not to challenge armed robbers but to immediately comply with their demands.

He says that it’s essential to have discreet but working alarm systems in place along with physical barriers such as restricted entrance (where possible) and burglar bars.

“Security guards and foot patrols are also an essential element for shopping centres these days,” he says.

Most major shopping centres around South Africa have CCTV cameras monitoring all customers within the centre and this, too, is a preventive measure that helps to minimise crime levels.

According to the report most retail robberies occur on Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays because there is a perception among criminals that there is more money inside the stores on those days than at any other time during the week.

The statistics do not include shoplifting or staff pilferage.

Oosthuizen warned retailers centre management to remain vigilant at all times because although the crime statistics might have fallen, any decline in the security procedures will rapidly lead to an increase in crime levels.