Keeping shopping centres safe and crime-free

October 2015 Associations, Retail (Industry)

The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA), the South African Police Service (SAPS), and the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) have formed a partnership to address incidences of crime targeting retailers within shopping centres across the country.

The main objective of this partnership is to ensure a safe and crime-free environment for retailers and shoppers. This partnership is also aimed at providing a coordinated and focused approach across the various stakeholders ­associated with shopping centres and a stronger alliance with the Criminal Justice System, especially SAPS.

Most of the incidents that have occurred at shopping centres have targeted cash and high value commodities such as jewellery, cellular, apparel and fast moving consumer goods retailers. These incidents have typically been carried out with military-like precision by large well-armed gangs.

This partnership will be facilitated by the CGCSA Crime Risk Initiative, and seeks to encourage the active participation of all shopping centre owner and management companies, as well as their security service providers, and retail companies in an inclusive and holistic partnership.

It builds on the established and successful anti-crime collaborative platform which has been operating across the retail industry since 2002, facilitated by the CGCSA and involving the major retailers. This industry-led crime risk initiative is underpinned by a view that the pervasive and violent nature of crime requires sustained commitment and cooperation across the industry, as well as with all other relevant stakeholders in government (especially the SAPS and NPA) and across the broader ­business community.

The initiative seeks to enhance anti-crime partnerships between shopping centre owner/management companies, their retail tenants, as well as with SAPS. This builds on the commitment of the SAPS to work closely with the industry to reduce crime and mitigate risk within shopping centres and follows ongoing commitments made by the SAPS leadership at national and provincial levels. This commitment has recently resulted in the establishment of formal SAPS structures across the various SAPS components and provinces, as well as the initiation of various interventions in partnership with the industry.

Core elements of the initiative include:

• The collection and analysis of all crime incidents occurring in shopping centres – thus providing a solid foundation for pro-active strategic and operational decision making by the industry, as well as the SAPS, to inform resource planning and operations. This information, as well as regular reports and insights will provide a basis for alignment and the ongoing assessment of impact on the levels of crime;

• Risk mitigation measures by shopping centres through best practices and crime risk mitigation standards (such as basic minimum security standards, crime scene management guidelines, etc.). The intention is to derive industry-wide standards and crime prevention approaches which have a tangible impact on crime risks;

• Regular and formal national, regional and local engagement with the SAPS to foster operational alignment and cooperation in police visibility, resolution of emerging risks and threats, as well as other preventative measures;

• Reacting to crime incidents as these occur by serving as a central clearing house and alerting platform, and the mobilisation of SAPS resources where required, the resolution of any blockages which might occur in the CJS, and ensuring effective mechanisms for the provision of all crime incident information and CCTV footage to the SAPS for investigative purposes.

Participation and membership

In order to sustain the initiative, a membership fee framework has been formulated so as to encourage broad participation of all shopping centres across the country – no matter how big or small. The membership fee structure has been segmented according to the size of the shopping centre, with a sizeable reduction of 20% offered to property owner companies that enrol their complete retail portfolio.

For more information contact Thembalethu Msomi at

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