Wade Anderson, Managing Director of Durban based Blue International, which provides specialised security services to retailers nationally and on the continent said armed robberies at malls were on the increase nationally. “Shopping center robberies are certainly on the rise and the main reason is because they are such soft targets. As soon as perpetrators have weapons it makes it so easy for them and they can get in and out of a mall swiftly.”
“Shops that are targeted are usually high value stores, selling cellphones, electronic goods and jewellery as well as those that tend to carry larger sums of cash, located near to the exits of malls. This makes it easy for them to get in and out within two to three minutes. There are rarely robberies at stores located in the middle of malls.”
“In some cases robbers get to a shop’s safe area within thirty-seconds and with the keys or code from the manager they can be gone with millions of Rands in minutes. We are advising retailers to install barriers such as a steel gate with time electronic time delay codes to the back of store area where the safe is located, as well as time delayed codes on safes, that will take five or ten minutes to open, dramatically raising the risk of arrest.
“But security companies can’t fight this kind of organised crime alone and the police are doing their best but they really need a dedicated task force in each province to focus on mall robberies. Security companies can’t stop this crime but we try to make the stores we protect more risky for perpetrators to target so that criminals will go elsewhere,” Anderson said.