A new retail security system uses the latest in communication technology to allow the Gardai and city retailers to work together to beat shoplifting and theft.
A number of city retailers have already signed up for the Galway Crime Watch initiative which involves both groups joining forces to share information and support each other. These include Zhivago, Brown Thomas, McCambridge’s, Debenhams, Hanley’s Menswear, Matt O’Flaherty’s and Tommy Hilfiger.
The system, which was launched earlier this week, is being provided by local company Golden Eye Security and was was run as a pilot programme during the summer.
“We know that a very effective way of deterring crime is through old-fashioned neighbourliness where businesses can alert each other of criminal activities happening on our streets,” says city Mayor, Cllr Declan McDonnell. “The new Galway Crime Watch radio system will facilitate this exchange of information, it is discreet and very effective.”
The introduction of the system comes as crime rates are increasing. Provisional Garda figures for the first nine months of 2009 indicate that of 1,291 thefts recorded, 441 of these occurred in city shops. Figures for burglaries showed an increase of 19 per cent.
City centre retailers are invited to take part in the new security system. Golden Eye Security provides secure two-way radios, security training and manned security-services to retailers. In cases where businesses have their own in-house security personnel, they may avail of the radio system and link with other retailers on the street.
The security company will provide the crime watch system with experienced security personnel who will divide their time among the participating stores. Should an incident arise, the security person can go directly to the premises. When joining the Galway Crime Watch system, retail staff are provided with security training as well as loss prevention techniques.
Joe Carroll of Zhivago Records says this new system has reduced the number of thefts in his stores and in the city.
“It also works as a deterrent for the usual shoplifters entering the city. We are delighted with how it has opened up communication lines with other stores, thus breaking trends in shoplifting.”
Seán O’Connor, MD, Golden Eye Security, says there has been an increase recently in visiting crime gangs coming into the city on day trips from Dublin and other parts of the country.
“Once these are spotted by our personnel on the streets the message can go out quickly through all participants in the Galway Crime Watch radio system. This goes a long way to giving all a sense of security and to prevent losses through theft.”