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Canal Walk shopping centre has resorted to random hand-held metal detector checks at entrances in an effort to curb the concerning trend of mall robberies.
Last week Canal Walk shopping centre was hit twice in three days, with armed robbers stealing an estimated R3 million worth of goods.
On Thursday, iPads and iPhones to the value of roughly R1 million were stolen from the Apple store and on Saturday approximately R2 million worth of jewellery and watches was stolen from Harris Jewellers.
The alarming increase in these kinds of robberies, which often involves well-dressed criminals who blend in with the shoppers, resulted in police organising an emergency press conference on Sunday.
Canal Walk has also engaged in “urgent consultation” with the police, the Western Cape Department of Community Safety, security consultants, Business Against Crime, and retailers.
“The recent increase in robberies at shopping centres and stores requires a clear strategy from the police, in cooperation with the centre’s security company. We further need to make sure our customers are aware of what is being done to clamp down on this types of criminal behaviour. Canal Walk has taken immediate steps, increasing security presence and conducting random hand-held metal detector checks at entrances,” she said.
Gavin Wood, CEO of Canal Walk, said that they are taking a “zero tolerance stance” against crime.
Police deputy provincial commissioner Major-General Sharon Jeftha said there was no indication a syndicate is operating in the Cape.
The police have, according to her, arrested 15 suspects linked to mall robberies in the last four months, but apart from the same modus operandi, there appears to be no connection between them.
Robbers apparently focus on cellphone and jewellery stores, especially those close to mall entrances. They pretend to be customers when entering the targeted store, and don’t hesitate if there are customers.
They would take staff and clients to the back of the store, while other robbers would take whatever they can.
Staff and clients are kept in the storeroom while the robbers cleans out the stock.
Herbst said the best way to curb this type of crime was to rely on “cutting-edge technology with highly visible policing and rapid emergency response”.
***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN TYGERBURGER, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. IT MAY NOT BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – TYGERBURGER, MEDIA24.***

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Canal Walk shopping centre has raised the ire of licensed firearm owners after implementing increased security measures.
The centre’s response to the recent spate of mall robberies has been the introduction of random searches for firearms at security points.
This has upset some licensed firearm owners, who have vented their anger on Facebook.
At the time of writing, the Facebook group “Firearm Owners Boycott Canal Walk”, which started last week, had racked up over 400 members.
“Look, I’ve seen the signs (no guns allowed) on the doors for some time and just totally ignored them along with everyone else. Now the centre is starting to enforce it. I’m actually sick to death of it,” says the founding member of the group, Table View’s John Harley.
Harley’s opinion is shared by many on Facebook and Twitter.
“We’re being painted as the criminals and we’re not,” exclaims Harley.
“This government said that I’m competent to possess a firearm in a public or private place and to use it for self-defence. Now who the hell is someone else to say that I’m not?”
Harley and other licensed firearm holders are now finding themselves in a pickle, because they are also not allowed to leave their firearm in their cars while they go into the mall.
This means they will have to leave their homes without the means to defend themselves in a way they see fit.
Harley says he would grudgingly accept it if Canal Walk followed GrandWest Casino’s example by providing a safe place where they can keep someone’s firearm while the person is on the premises.
But this should only be an option, states Harley, if the centre has applied to be a Firearm Free Zone (FFZ) in terms of Section 109 of the Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000.
Canal Walk CEO Gavin Hood said Canal Walk has not been declared a gun free zone in terms of the Act.
“It is our understanding as private property we are permitted to implement reasonable restricted entry provided these are appropriately communicated to our customers,” said Hood.
“This may inconvenience some shoppers, and we apologise for this. However, we are sure the majority of customers understand the reason for these security measures.”
In addition, perimeter fencing and improved access control will be installed before the festive season and police presence will be enhanced on site.
“We will also continue to work closely with Century City Precinct security who incorporate number plate recognition at the entrances. In addition to the existing response vehicle, tactical response vehicles have been deployed on the perimeter of the property in the event of an incident occurring. Centre management has also engaged with high-risk tenants to reassess security measures at store-level.”
***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN TYGERBURGER, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. IT MAY NOT BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – TYGERBURGER, MEDIA24.***

 

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