Securing retail therapy

February 2010 Associations, Retail (Industry)

Selma Black reflects on the goals of the Shopping Centre Security Initiative. In this article she expands on the initiative and its goals.

Selma Black
Selma Black

The Shopping Centre Security Initiative (SCSI) was launched in 2007 as a partnership between the South African Council of Shopping Centres, the South African Property Owners Association, the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) and Business Against Crime South Africa (BAC).

CGCSA provides the ideal environment for the Shopping Centre Security Initiative where it can interface with other similar business associations and the South African Police Services (SAPS) and leverage on expertise in the security industry.

The main objective of the SCSI is to ensure the safety of customers following the alarming growth in aggravated robberies at shopping centres during the early 2000s. With the current focus on violence surrounding retail and the associated environment, the integration of efforts in combating crime is imperative. Thus the need has not subsided, but rather intensified, for coordination, cooperation and implementation of crime prevention measures.

Focus areas

The issues the SCSI concentrates on include:

* The analysis of trends in violent crime and developing measures to combat, mitigate and prevent these incidents.

* Harness collective crime prevention and combating efforts of the sector into focused initiatives.

* Establishment and maintenance of national and regional structures which enable the ongoing cooperation across the sector.

* Design and implementation of specific interventions aimed at ensuring a safe and pleasant shopping experience (eg, cash management and security standards).

* Establish and maintain a close working relationship between the shopping centre fraternity and law enforcement agencies (enabling information sharing, joint planning etc).

* Networking with related industry and national anti-crime initiatives.

Community effort

The SCSI and its members recognise the need to exercise extreme care to avoid any violation or raise the suspicion of a possible violation of competition law as many members of the SCSI are each other’s competitors in horizontal and vertical relationships. Consequently, all activities of the SCSI must be carefully measured against the prevailing competition law in South Africa and strict compliance with the antitrust laws is a policy of the SCSI Workgroup. All participants of the initiative are eager to share non-competitive information in order to contribute to the developing of crime prevention strategies that would benefit the shopping centre fraternity to safeguard their staff and clients.

Quality and completeness of information enhances the value and accuracy of prevention measures. Keeping the information in silo’s impacts negatively on analysis of trends and patterns and, as a result, also on effective prevention planning. The SCSI has established a central database where all violent crime incidents are recorded and an experienced data analyst analyses this data.

Results derived from the analysis is compared and shared among industry stakeholders and the SAPS. Trends and vulnerabilities are identified and used in crime prevention strategies by both SAPS and the participating industries. The intention is to focus on crime-related information and no shopping centre, store or business is mentioned in the information used.

Active participation by shopping centres in this initiative is encouraged in our continuous endeavours to mitigate the impact of crime and safeguard the shopping environment.

For more information contact Selma Black, CGCSA, +27 (0)11 789 5777,,

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