Columns 26.9.2013 06:00 am

Keep an eye on kids at the mall

While Kenyans mourns the death of innocent people at the Westgate mall, it is sad to think that a trip to the shopping mall changed and took so many lives.

The siege at the shopping mall by Islamist militants left 72 people dead and many wounded. The number of deaths is expected to rise as more bodies could be found.

What is scary about the Kenyan situation is that children were caught up in the siege. Innocent little ones who just went to the mall with their parents and guardians.

In South Africa the problem may not be that of terrorists, but mall armed robberies can leave innocent people in danger while shopping.

During public holidays, weekends and on payday, South African families crowd shopping malls without a thought of being caught up in something like a robbery at the mall.

We think we are safe in malls and some parents let their children run free all over the building while shopping. It is exactly that trusting nature that makes many people forget that not everyone is at the mall to shop.

If anyone notices that an adult is focused on buying stuff more than the whereabouts of their child, a criminal may be inspired to kidnap the child.

The Consumer Goods Risk Initiative reported that “armed robberies in shopping centres rose by 60% between 2012 and 2013 compared to the same period in 2011 to 2012.

“A total of 438 incidents of robbery in shopping centres were reported in 2012 and 2013, compared to 274 in the previous period.” Many of us live to shop.

But extra care must be taken when we are out and about, especially when shopping with children. If children get in the way of your shopping, leave them with someone at home.

That way you will know that their chances of being abducted or running all over the mall are down to zero.

 

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