KZN malls much safer than Gauteng

Twenty-three armed robberies have taken place in KwaZulu-Natal shopping malls this year. While this number might seem alarming, it is still relatively low when compared to Gauteng.

Recently, Gauteng deputy police commissioner Bushie Engelbrecht said that his province's malls were no longer safe, with armed gangs having robbed malls there 56 times from January to June this year.

According to statistics, KZN is much safer in comparison.

Michael Broughton, spokes-man for the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa, said that 23 armed robberies had taken place in KZN's shopping malls during the same period in 2005.

"Financial loss for armed robberies for 2005 for this province is R1 688 591.87, while the financial loss for all incidents at the malls for the year is R3 747 942.60," Broughton said.

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This, according to police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Phindile Radebe, is nothing to be concerned about.

"Robberies in shopping malls is not a very big problem or an area of concern for us in KwaZulu-Natal. Our malls are still very safe and there is no reason why anyone should stop going to them," she said.

Police spokesperson for the Chatsworth area Inspector Derrick Chetty said there were sporadic attacks on shopping centres in the Chatsworth area, but that it was not a major problem.

The general manager of the Pavilion in Westville, Preston Gaddy, said although there had been isolated incidents at the shopping centre, the situation was under control.

"There is a significant security presence in the form of the security guards, CCTV cameras and patrol cars at the Pavilion. And security will be stepped up at the centre during the December period," he said.

Gaddy said there was always a risk that shopping malls would be the target for robbers.

"This is why we can't be complacent and have to be at the top of our game, in terms of security, all the time," he said.

Michael Rodel, general manager for the Gateway Theatre of Shopping complex in Durban North, said that his shopping centre was on alert after the recent spate of robberies in Gauteng.

"Our security personnel and surveillance teams are particularly vigilant given the current spate of armed robberies, despite this not having impacted on Durban to the same degree as Johannesburg," he said.

Rodel said there were 320 surveillance cameras and 150 trained security officers monitoring activity at the centre, which had helped in effecting arrests of those who committed crimes at Gateway.

  • This article was originally published on page 5 of Daily News on October 19, 2005
Article by: Irene Kuppan