Extra cops for malls

2011-12-10 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL police are leaving nothing to chance this festive season. Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge said that as part of its festive season plan, extra police will be deployed at every shopping centre in the province.

Shoppers in Pietermaritzburg expressed concerns for their safety following a brawl and knifing at the Liberty Midlands Mall this week. The mall management said on Wednesday that security will be stepped up.

Said Mdunge: “We’ll be rendering a high level of visibility. We want police to be visible in every mall.”

He told Weekend Witness that during the festive season criminals target stokvels investors who withdraw their money after saving up for a year.

He warned people against carrying large amounts of cash.

“Thugs are aware of the police vigilance and the private security at malls,” said Mdunge. “That’s why incidents of crimes at shopping centres are rare and isolated.

‘People usually lose money out of their own negligence.”

Some shopping centres in Pietermaritzburg said they will be strengthening security to make sure that local shoppers and visiting holidaymakers are safe. Malls attract vast crowds and are at their busiest at this time of the year.

Kerrie Muldoon of Cascades Shopping Centre said they have extra measures to ensure that their shoppers are safe over the festive season.

“There are brand-new security cameras that have recently been installed and alternative plans to boost security. We are a short mall with open spaces and doors at four entrances. Evacuation procedures are in place and our onsite team is fully prepared and up to date should any incident arise,” she added.

The roperty developer and owner of Scottsville Mall and Capital Centre in the CBD are also beefing up security.

The general manager of Redefine Properties, Davey Gerald, told Weekend Witness that they are employing two more security guards at Capital Centre, but no extra guards would be needed at Scottsville because it is usually quieter during the festive season with the university students being away.

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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