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Malls boost festive season security

Crime & Courts

Johannesburg - Security at shopping malls is to be stepped up for the festive season, the SA Council of Shopping Centres said on Monday.

“Firearm attacks in shopping centres are an unfortunate global concern, with incidents occurring in the United States, Canada, Finland, and most recently in Kenya,” said CEO Amanda Stops.

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Customers shop at the Pick n Pay in Carlton Centre, Johannesburg. File photo: Leon Nicholas

On September 21, four masked men attacked the upscale Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi using grenades and assault rifles. At least 67 people were killed in the four-day siege. The Somali militant group known as Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the assault.

Stops said shopping centres began preparations for the festive season months in advance. These included keeping communicating lines open with the nearest police station, and establishing details of how law enforcers would respond to a crisis, she said.

“Having detailed centre floor and layout plans enables centre management to aid police, staff, and shoppers in the event of an incident.”

She said the country strived to follow international best practice in dealing with security risks. In the event of a firearm attack, shopping centre management would first alert the police and other emergency services.

Sapa

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