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Hit with at least one armed robbery a day, Shoprite basically set up its own police force

Business Insider SA
 Jul 22, 2019, 03:14 PM
shoprite
Shoprite trucks can now be remotely opened and closed, with alarms triggered if trucks are stationery for a certain length of time, or if unusual driving behaviour is detected.
  • In response to almost 500 armed robberies last year, Shoprite has ramped up its anti-crime efforts.
  • It has appointed expert investigators, crime data analysts and even a criminal lawyer to pursue criminals.
  • There has been a 200% increase of arrests of criminals involved in attacks on the retailer.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

After 489 armed robberies last year, Shoprite has ramped up its up anti-crime force, appointing expert investigators, crime data analysts and even a criminal lawyer to pursue criminals.

The retailer – Africa’s biggest – says it has paid off, with arrests of criminals involved in attacks on Shoprite up by 200%.

Recently, Shoprite “was able to assist with the arrest” of two suspects after the manager of its Worcester branch was shot and killed in a robbery last month. A third suspect has been identified and an arrest is imminent, a company spokesperson said.

The company did not directly answer a Business Insider South Africa question on whether it is making citizen’s arrests, but said it is working closely with the police and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to “affect the necessary arrests”. It is also sharing intelligence with the authorities to ensure that bail is opposed as well as that the prosecution of criminals is successful.

“Incidents of violent crime and robberies are coming down, and we will continue to do everything we can to make us a harder target,” Shoprite group loss prevention manager, Oswald Meiring, said.

These were some of its interventions in recent months:

Team of investigators

Shoprite has employed an in-house investigation team made up of experienced investigators.

A centralised command centre

The centre follows up on crime incidents and is tasked with ensuring that suspects are arrested.

The command centre also monitors stores and vehicles and can remotely trigger security devices. 

In addition to tracking devices, Shoprite 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 stationery 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.

Shoprite says that the command centre’s “extensive intelligence network” feeds it with 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.”

Data and crime analysts

This team uses predictive and historical analysis of all the crime data, to identify which stores or areas should be focused on.

Criminal lawyer

Shoprite has employed an expert criminal lawyer to assist with the successful prosecution of criminals. 

“We continue to focus on creating a safer environment for customers and staff. That is our first priority and we will go to any length to prosecute whoever is committing these crimes,” says Meiring.

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