Supermarkets call for more joint patrols after hours

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Supermarket Association president Rajiv Diptee.
File photo/Roger Jacob

PRESIDENT of the Supermarket Association Rajiv Diptee wants more joint patrols after hours, as those are the times most businesses are targeted, and efforts to help curb the “chronic issue” of shoplifting.

Speaking in the Senate on Tuesday morning, National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds said the police are making efforts to tackle shoplifting at supermarkets.

Earlier this year, Diptee called for increased police patrols, as shoplifting was on the rise.

Asked for an update, Hinds said the police has since begun “enhanced stakeholder engagements” with supermarket owners and the business community.

Some of the efforts, he said, include increased stop-and-search efforts in and around business areas which include supermarkets.

Another strategy he listed was active directed patrols, which he described as “a scientifically-driven patrol initiative that utilises crime and problem-analysis data to map patrol zones and beats.”

These patrols, he continued, “are mandated to make public spaces a focal point, inclusive of business districts on their patrol routes, and some operations have been intensified to target particular vehicle types and prolific offenders that are known to the police for engaging in that kind of criminal activity.”

Hinds said building a strong partnership with the association and its members will promote joint responsibility for crime prevention, detection and problem-solving at the individual, organisational, business community and national levels.

He added that the police use structured, guided, informal interactions with the association through council meetings.

Speaking to Newsday on Tuesday afternoon, Diptee said security falls among the top three expenses of supermarket owners.

He also confirmed that there have been meetings as well as police patrols.

However, he said he would like to see more joint patrols at night, as “you don’t see them (police) as much as you would like to” at that time.

“And that’s when you see a lot of businesses and business people come under attack. I’ve heard it identified as an issue.

“You’re also hearing from the wider business community that some stores, depending on where they’re located, if they feel the after-hour environment is not safe enough, they’re just simply choosing to close earlier.”

He said many communities have WhatsApp groups for joint monitoring and called on the public to increase those efforts.