Australian shopping centres attract millions of visitors each year and with so many customers, it can throw up a large number of challenges and/or issues. For this reason, it’s important to ensure that steps are taken so that shopping centres remain an enjoyable and safe environment to visit. Let’s take a closer look at some of those challenges and more importantly, what can be done to ensure the utmost safety of visitors and employees within.
You only have to look at the Westgate Shopping Centre attacks in Nairobi back in 2013 to realise how vulnerable shopping centres can be. In those attacks, 4 armed terrorists shot and killed 67 people, in addition to injuring 175 more. While this type of attack is very rare it’s important that members of the public and those in private service remain vigilant. For these reasons, personnel should be available to provide professional security to safeguard against such an attack.
Turning around in a busy crowded shopping centre to find that their child is no longer there is arguably one of the worst feelings in the world. Shopping centres carry lots of attractions for children and it’s easy for a child to get distracted by a glittery toy in a shop window or the latest arcade game. In most cases, children are reunited with their parents within a few heartfelt minutes, although on rare occasions children go missing or are even abducted. The James Bulger case in 1993 is a case in point when two older boys abducted the young boy from a shopping centre in the UK in broad daylight and subsequently killed him. A prominent visible security presence can provide both reassurances to parents so should the child go missing, even for a few minutes, it can be reported to security personnel immediately, where they stand a far greater chance of reuniting both parties.
Fires can be life-threatening at the best of times, but in areas such as shopping centres where thousands of people gather, the results can be catastrophic. For this reason as well as sprinkler systems, security personnel are on hand to carry out regular checks of areas where fires may take hold. If a small fire does break out, they have the skills to execute an evacuation plan and get people to safety.
Perhaps one of the downsides of areas where large amounts of people gather is that it attracts criminals. Not only shoplifters but pickpockets. A security presence is often needed firstly as a deterrent for anyone considering theft, but also as a presence where people can report a theft that has recently occurred. Unfortunately, the criminality of this nature will never be eradicated totally but shopping centres with a higher concentration of security personnel, both in retail outlets and throughout the centre itself, can certainly do a lot to reduce it.
So there you have it, these are just some of the incidents that can occur in shopping centres throughout the world. Fortunately, statistics show that shopping centres are generally safe places to be, where people can go about their normal daily business without any problems. For this reason, the presence of security guards should be seen as comforting, rather than a necessary evil reflecting the times we live in.
If you have a retail outlet, or are the owner of a shopping mall and would like to speak to someone about an enhanced security presence, then come and talk to MA Security. We’ve been helping businesses, individuals and events with their security needs for over 20 years, so contact us on 1300 020 406 to see how we can help.