Shopping centre council in talks with SAPS on keeping malls safe

SACSC president, Marna van der Walt

The South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) today announced it will meet with the SAPS to unlock communication that can help malls to better assist the police in combating the organised criminal threat to shops and ensure a safe environment for retailers and shoppers alike.

Amanda Stops, CEO of SACSC, confirmed the council is facilitating a meeting between representatives from Gauteng shopping centres and the SAPS.

“By sharing crime information we all benefit,” says Stops. “On one hand, malls can be better informed on threats and increased risks at certain retail stores, which helps contribute to prevention. On the other hand, we can also provide better information to the police which increases their success. We want to understand how we can support the police to improve the capture and prosecution of perpetrators, and reinforce their investigations.”

She adds: “Of course, preventing crime is the priority and this means proactively sharing information and analysis about crimes, suspects and suspicious vehicles.”

The discussions with the SAPS and mall owners and managers will include these focuses areas. Stops says the SACSC would also welcome minimum standards or guidelines for CCTV as well as minimum standards for the calibre of guards training and certification, as both would support safety.

As in the recent spate of cellphone and computer store robberies, in many instances the targets of crimes are specific types of stores.

SACSC president, Marna van der Walt, says that by working with retailers and the SAPS malls can play a key role in crime prevention.

“Increased risk at one store in a mall has knock-on effects. Retailers need to work in tandem with shopping malls, security providers and the police to ensure we are all suitably vigilant at higher-risk times for each store,” she says.
“This can only be achieved with excellent communication and a keen focus on crime prevention. We encourage working together to create a safe environment for the customer,” adds van der Walt.

The SACSC will also continue to work with the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa, Business Against Crime South Africa, and SAPS, using information sharing and best practices for the common goal of providing a safe environment for customers in shopping centres.