Be Safe While Shopping.
How often is your shopping interrupted by announcements that warn shoppers, especially women, to keep their handbags and cellular phones secure.
The following safety tips, provided by the SAPS, can further assist shop owners and their staff to ensure shoppers’ safety:
* the outside of the store should, at all times, be visible to the public with no shrubs or any other objects obstructing the view to the premises.
Obstructions in front of the shop can be used as a hiding place for criminals or their weapons.
* General security systems should be fitted with warnings that the system is being utilised as this can be a deterrent for criminals.
Shop owners and their staff need to take the following safety precautions when opening and closing the shop:
* those responsible for opening the shop in the morning or closing up in the evening should be alert and vigilant.
* Look around for suspicious activities such as people lurking around, offering unnecessary assistance or asking to use the bathroom or other facilities inside the shop before opening time.
* Keep a close look out for parked vehicles or vehicles driving by slowly. If you feel uncomfortable, contact your nearest police station or your security company.
Do not open the shop, rather wait for assistance.
The safest way to open and close your shop is to have someone from your security company or a police officer present at the time.
By being alert at all times in the shop you can prevent an incident.
Keep the following in mind:
* be aware of customers who walk around aimlessly, not buying anything, leaving the shop and returning at a later stage with another person.
If one customer draws your attention by asking for help – it may be a way of causing a diversion – keep your eye on the person accompanying him.
* The use of mirrors inside the shop, such as placing them at the top corners of the walls or over pillars inside the shop, will help the staff to keep an eye on angles of the shop that are not in their view.
* Make use of Close Curcuit Television (CCTV) systems to record everything inside and outside the shop.
Make sure that the use of the system is visible from the front or inside of the shop – this may also act as a deterrent.
* Look-out for any customers with suspicious looking bags as these may contain a weapon. Make sure no-one leaves parcels behind as they might have explosives inside.
* Ensure that there are several panic buttons throughout the shop so that they are in easy reach of the staff.
More Shopping Tips…
Employers should also take note of the following pertaining to their employees:
* keep an updated record of your staff’s details including a most recent residential address as well as close family members’ contact details.
* Make sure you have a certified copy of your staff members’ identity document and verify it yourself as a true copy.
* Do not employ illegal immigrants – although it is a seemingly “cheap form of labour” it is illegal and may cost you up to R20 000 in fines or one year imprisonment.
Safety measures that can be implemented are:
* never keep a large amount of cash inside the shop or cash register.
Make use of drop-safes and put up signs stating that the keys to the safe are not kept by the staff or on the premises.
* In the event of an armed robbery, make use of the panic buttons immediately. However, do not resist.
Be observant: take note of the suspects’ faces, clothing or any other unique physical features.
* When the suspects leave the premises, take note of any vehicles parked outside or persons assisting the suspects.
Try to get registration numbers of the vehicles.
By being observant, you will not only be saving lives but you will also help the investigating officer with the compiling of identity kits of suspects.
* Information obtained from www.saps.gov.za