Despite increased security at most major retailers in the city, Business Against Crime (BAC) in the Western Cape and shopping malls are working closely with the South African police services (SAPS) to amplify police visibility ahead of the festive season. According to BAC, consumers and retailers should be vigilant, as criminals would take advantage during the busy festive season shopping boom.
The police’s festive season schedule includes increasing their visibility and their cooperation with all shopping malls. All businesses and local precincts report back to the police if any incidences occur. BAC not only encourages this operation but oversees that the operation runs smoothly.
“Our role is to create a space where businesses and the government can work together to solve the crime,” says BAC Western Cape chairperson Andrew Anthony.
Businesses and the police have discussed how they can apprehend crime in these areas. Due to these discussions, there is a higher presence of South African police in shopping malls including “mounted police”. This serves the purpose of having higher visibility and to increase awareness by having police on horse backs.
“The public should have noticed that police have a higher presence in shopping malls. They have introduced police on horse backs so that police can incidentally respond,” says Anthony.
He said this creates a safety hub for shoppers and security. Canal Walk Shopping Centre has been the hardest hit by crime over recent weeks. After conducting a full-risk assessment of the shopping mall they have increased its security with stringent security measures and working closely with the police.
“We have increased our security personnel, and deployed more undercover guards. We are introducing further technology, which enhances our existing CCTV and other security infrastructure,” says Canal Walk marketing manager Vaneesa Herbst.
The shopping centre’s security personnel will be conducting frequent, but random stop-and-searches at the various entrances. Shoppers are urged to be vigilant and alert to any suspicious behaviour and to react immediately.
“To women do not put your bag out of your site as this is an opportunity for criminals to grab your bag. If the shoppers see something suspicious turn back to the shopping centre and report it,” Anthony cautioned. VOC (Nailah Cornelissen)