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Malls act to protect festive shoppers

By Sandile Waka-Zamisa

SECURITY at shopping centres is being stepped up for the festive season after concerns were raised about shopping centre safety following the recent shootout at the Pavilion shopping centre. The Pavilion centre management has said that shoppers will now be scanned and searched at random at the centre.

During a recent shootout at the mall, robbers fled with 31 Rolex watches and injured a policeman.

Scottsville mall centre manager Lara Gracie said the centre has stepped up its security.

“We have increased the number of our security guards, but we won’t go as far as searching and scanning shoppers. I don’t believe it’s fair to do so. If someone has been earmarked as a potential criminal, our guards will monitor their movements and search them only if it is necessary,” Gracie said.

She said that hotspots have been identified and security will watch those areas closely. Gracie did however say she had no control of security inside the shops.

Liberty Midlands Mall centre management has also introduced measures to ensure shoppers have a safe shopping experience.

Liberty Midlands Mall acting centre manager Phatu Mashamba said plans have been implemented to control high risk areas.

“We have gone to great lengths to ensure the safety of our shoppers this festive season. The security complement has been boosted and trained to ensure they are prepared for any incidents regarding the safety of the customers. A joint venture has been entered into with the SAPS and traffic department who will be on site during the festive season. All measures have been put in place to ensure a pleasurable shopping experience.”

Umhlanga’s Gateway Theatre of Shopping has been proactive in their attempts to prevent a rise in crime during the festive season.

“After careful consideration, and in an additional effort to be proactive about security within the centre, Gateway introduced a no loitering policy some time ago,” Gateway centre manager Adrian Raw said.

He saw this policy in action in the U.S. on a visit to the country earlier this year.

“After consultation with local SAPS and our security service provider we decided to implement the policy at Gateway. Through this measure, patrons who stand or sit in a particular position for a suspicious length of time or whom we deem not to be at the centre for the purpose of shopping or using the entertainment facilities are either asked to move along, or in some instances asked to leave the centre completely”.

Raw asked shoppers to co-operate with security, management and the police in preventing crime.