Shoprite’s private ‘police force’ makes a massive dent in robberies

 ·28 Nov 2023

The Shoprite Group is successfully taking a tough-on-crime approach – resulting in year-on-year decreases in robberies and burglaries committed against their over 3,000 stores, 1,000 trucks, and 1,500 truck trailers.

Over the past three years, the group has increased its focus on prosecuting criminals who target its operations – having overseen successful prosecutions leading to prison sentences totalling 1,384 years and three months. This includes 24 life sentences and nearly 396 years of custody.

“Our top priority remains creating a safer environment for our customers and our employees. Securing arrests and sentences are therefore critical to deter and ultimately reduce crime.” Said the head of Group Security and Loss Prevention of Shoprite, Oswald Meiring.

In 2018, Shoprite established an in-house security team called the Group’s Command Centre, which uses technology, AI, and intelligence to curb crime.

It hired a specialist team of investigators (former police officers and detectives), data and crime analysts, and law experts with experience in commercial crime, fraud, and serious and violent crime following a string of armed robberies at the company.

The team uses predictive and historical crime data analysis, live information on strikes and protests, and remote-triggered security devices to make hundreds of arrests annually.

“We will continue to use all available tools and resources to identify, track down, and prosecute offenders,” said Meiring.

The group works to identify suspects to their arrest, oppose bail, work with police to ensure they have a complete and accurate docket, and testify in court.

It works closely with other sectors in its war on crime. It partners with the South African Police Service (SAPS) the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to provide evidence and analysis in court and community members to track criminals.

In-house crime prevention is growing in the South African retail sector. This is because crime (which is high in the country) devastates the profitability, viability, growth, and sustainability of retail businesses.

Many companies are becoming increasingly proactive in responding to crime. Jaco Pietersen, group forensics manager at the Clicks group, said that “the negative impact of crime on business is a major issue in South Africa. Various surveys have found that South African Enterprises of all sizes, rated crime as one of the top four constraints to doing business.”

This has both direct and indirect costs that companies try to minimize.

The direct costs include the value of money or goods stolen and the cost of damage to property and goods. Indirect costs include the cost of disruption to business, loss of working hours for staff, loss of necessary equipment or temporary closure of the business, medical expenses, loss of staff, and increased insurance premiums.

Read: Shoprite has its own ‘police force’ – and now makes over 200 arrests a year

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