Shop thieves

There must be few things more disheartening for a small business owner than arriving at their workplace to find windows smashed and merchandise stolen.
After a spike in attacks on Mt Barker businesses, it’s not unreasonable or surprising that local shop owners want change.
The recent string of break-ins were not isolated events, but brazen attacks occurring over just a couple of weeks – affecting at least five local businesses.
Most business owners have their own alarm systems and the council says it’s working on ways to create an interesting night-time environment and increase night-time activity along the main street – measures that it hopes will improve security in the town centre at night.
But a vibrant main street may not be enough to deter an attack in the early hours of the morning.
Main street business owners face a set of security challenges to which businesses in secured shopping centre complexes are less vulnerable.
While most shopping centres are armed with CCTV, alarm systems and even security guards, many street front shops are left to manage their own security.
If the council wants to preserve the vibrancy and profitability of the town’s business and retail district, perhaps there is more it could do to support those business owners.
This could include installing more lighting and even public security cameras – like those seen in other business districts, such as Rundle Mall.
Mt Barker police have already committed to increasing patrols around the town’s centre but business owners also have a role to play.
There are many cost-effective security options available, including cameras that can help identify and prosecute offenders.
The actions of the perpetrators of the last fortnight’s attacks have had frustrating and – in some cases – devastating effects on local shop owners.
But the spate of break-ins has also created an opportunity for business owners, the police and the council to work together to make the town’s centre a better place.
Law-breakers should be held to account and, with a joint approach, Gawler Street and its surrounds could become a better place to do business.

For the full report, see the print issue of The Courier.