CRIME, THE FINAL NAIL IN THE MALL’S COFFIN

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We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, criminals are becoming more brazen because they have no fear of getting caught. This, despite the fact that the police are trying harder to deal with their nefarious activities in a more proactive manner. Last Saturday’s attack on a jewellery store at Trincity Mall is clear evidence that conventional methods of security are completely useless in today’s world of banditry. The fact that these little hoodlums would run into the busy mall, in full view of shoppers and pull off an armed smash and grab operation says a lot about them and similarly, speaks volumes about the role of these security guards we see at shopping centres across the country.

Shoppers take a false sense of security when they see these uniformed individuals among them and in the parking lots. They feel that their cars are protected from break-in or theft and that their wellbeing would be looked after if chaos breaks loose within the walls of the building. But is that really so? Is that the role of these security guards? To secure you and your property or to secure the interests of their employers first? It’s a question that requires a straight answer from the mall proprietors. Despite having guards patrolling mall parking lots, there are still disclaimers posted that you are responsible for your vehicle and its contents. Does that also apply to your personal safety while you shop or browse unsuspectingly at the mall?

Robberies of all sorts are nothing new to shopping malls or anywhere else for that matter where there are valuables lavishly displayed. But why does one particular mall seem to be the target of the underworld? How could a mobile phone retailer be robbed while the mall is locked up and secured? How were so many cars stolen from the parking lot recently? And how could a group of little crooks know that the coast is clear to pull off a jewellery heist in broad daylight? Many years ago when some of our staff had vehicles stolen or broken into at another location in St. James, we were told by police that the security guards had a lot to do with crimes taking place. As one officer said back then, they had little doubt that a security guard working 12 hour shifts for minimum wage would ‘collect a change’ to turn his back for a few minutes for a ‘brethren’ to take a car. Who is to say that the same problem isn’t occurring now?

The evidence that our economy is in a mess is there for everyone to see. Companies are downsizing, shoppers are spending less and more and more retail businesses especially, are falling to the wayside. Daily in the newspaper, we see auctions of items levied upon by malls for non payment of ridiculously high rent or closing down sales taking place because retailers can’t keep up. Malls and other such outlets are in trouble. Can they afford at this time, to have substandard security speed up their demise? It’s time for shopping malls to weigh the consequences and act quickly. They may find that their antiquated approach to security is the catalyst that expedites their ruin, unless a new and innovative plan is sought that’s impenetrable to the parasites of society.