60% increase in mall armed robberies

Johannesburg - Armed robberies in shopping centres rose by 60% in 2012/2013 compared to the same period in 2011/2012, the Consumer Goods Risk Initiative (CGRI) said on Sunday.

"The highest targeted commodity in shopping centre robbery incidents in 2013 are cellphones," CGRI head James Oosthuizen said in a statement.

A total of 438 incidents of robbery in shopping centres were reported in 2012/2013, compared to 274 in the previous time period.

The majority of cellphone robberies took place in Gauteng and the Western Cape.

CGRI is a unit within the Consumer Goods Council of SA that specialises in preventing crime in the retail industry.

It was recently involved in developing a cash distribution system for shopping centres in Johannesburg designed to decrease cash-in-transit robberies.

"As part of the system, cash is transported from the retail stores throughout the mall by means of air tubes, meaning retailers no longer keep cash on their premises," said Oosthuizen.

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