The Shoprite Group is in the process of tightening anti-crime measures to curb rampant crime. The retailer announced it has begun investing heavily in sophisticated security and other measures with the chief objective to reduce criminal incidents and increase arrests.Investments in crime prevention include a centralised command centre and anti-crime team. These measures are aimed at making shopping secure for customers and ensure the safety of its employees. “Investing in safety measures comes in the wake of the retail industry experiencing significant crime incidents. “This gives the group the ability to monitor stores and vehicles, remotely trigger security devices, follow up on crime incidents and ensure suspects are arrested,” said Oswald Meiring, prevention manager. He said the retailer contended with 489 armed robberies and burglaries during the 2018 financial year. “Through an extensive intelligence network, the command centre receives live information on strikes, protests and other incidents. This information can be used to react and take necessary measures to safeguard the group’s fleet on the road as well as staff and customers in its stores,” said Meiring. According to Meiring, safety measures were bearing fruit, saying these were reflected in a reduction of contact (violent) crime incidents and increased prosecutions. “It is a work in progress. Incidents of violent crime and robberies are coming down, and we will continue to do everything we can to make us a harder target. Arrests have increased by 200% as a result of the group increasing its capability to identify, trace and arrest suspects,” he said. Meiring attributes the success to working together with the police and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). “The group shares intelligence with the NPA and the police to ensure that bail is successfully opposed and that prosecution of criminals is successful. “We continue to focus on creating a safer environment for customers and staff. We will go to any length to prosecute whoever is committing these crimes,” said Meiring.In addition to tracking devices, the group installed cameras and electronic locks on trucks which are managed from the command centre. Trucks can be remotely opened and closed, with alarms triggered if trucks are stationary for a certain length of time, or if unusual driving behaviour is detected“Since these devices were installed, there have been no incidents in transit on these vehicles. The group has also employed an in-house investigation team made up of experienced investigators. It has a team of data and crime analysts who utilise predictive and historical analysis of all the crime data, to identify which stores or areas should be focused on. “The group has also employed an expert criminal lawyer to assist with the successful prosecution of criminals,” said Meiring.