The Supermarket Association of Trinidad and Tobago (SATT) has expressed concern over the rise in criminal activity.
In a statement, SATT said the rising crime rate is negatively affecting commercial retail activity.
It noted that the murder rate is on track to surpass 600 at the close of the year, which is a distressing statistic for both the shopping public and retailers.
According to the Association, the figure is sure to embolden perpetrators of crime.
On the issue of Firearm User’s Licenses, SATT said the current debate is on the legitimacy of the licenses obtained by some.
In this regard, the Association said it welcomes the prosecution of those individuals. It said this would allow for the legitimate needs of the business community to be met with some empathy by the office of the Commissioner of Police.
SATT is also distressed over the effect of crime on its business costs, particularly where security is concerned.
The statement read: “We also note that the cost of security and security measures in our industry is very high and, in fact, increasing. This is a cost that can be decreased if there are serious and sustainable actions taken by the authorities to control and reduce crime levels in dealing with criminal elements.
These costs borne by retailers have become necessary in the face of soaring and organised pilferage. The perception lingers that there are no consequences for these actions of deliberate theft. This becomes plainly evident when items such as cheese and luxury meat products are placed under lock and key to try to stymie losses due to pilferage.”
The Association suggested that more must be done beyond a heightened police presence to stop theft; enabling the proper recourse via the prescribed legislation. The current approach, SATT noted, allows repeat offenders to thrive.
SATT said it must offer comfort to its shoppers to provide a safe and secure shopping environment.
The Association said: “We now seek the same comfort from those entrusted with the administration of planning those measures aimed at combating this dire situation from which has severely impacted the business community and greatly shrunken the appetite from SMEs for commercial risk.”
“We look forward to meaningfully supporting national efforts in this regard,” SATT concluded.
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