Shopping during Christmas is a nightmare for most of us, but it is especially a daunting task for the shops themselves. Indeed, we saw this last year, when even months before, shops in South Africa, were preparing for festive season.
“shopping centres began preparations for the festive season months in advance. These included keeping communicating [sic] lines open with the nearest police station, and establishing details of how law enforcers would respond to a crisis.”
SA Council of Shopping Centres CEO Amanda Stops said: “Having detailed centre floor and layout plans enables centre management to aid police, staff, and shoppers in the event of an incident.”
Shopping during the Festive Season is known to increase almost everywhere, as people rush to purchase last minute Christmas gifts for loved ones and prepare for long holidays.
This is particularly of concern to South Africa, when you consider the country has over 2 000 shopping centres, making it the 6th highest number of shopping centres in the world. This combined with the large number of robberies has malls on edge, as we approach and enter the holiday season.
In response, stores have tightened security in all sorts of ways: both in individual shops and also in malls. This means all sorts of responses: increased number of guards, using video wall systems or other physical interventions, or implementing new policies.
Business cannot afford to underestimate the impact crime can have. Speaking in 2013, LeRoy Munetsi, Executive Head of Auto & General Business Insurance said: “Crime has a debilitating impact on local businesses. The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitive Report 2013/2014 ranks South Africa 141st out of 148 countries in terms of the costs of crime and violence, indicating that crime is costing businesses significantly.”
The report indicated, at the time, that crime and theft ranked seventh in terms of the most problematic factor for being able to do business in South Africa.
“From fraud to theft,” Munetsi said, “businesses are having an increasingly tough time trying to protect the assets, and personnel, that enable them to keep operating.”
Little has changed from 2013 in terms of crime dropping. Now, more than ever, businesses need to take a firm grasp on their security to protect themselves, their assets and their customers. Everyone benefits from better security; no one wins from laziness.