Friday, June 29, 2012

'Damsel in distress' tests mall security

FOLLOWING the experience of TV personality Dawn Jeremiah in which a shopping centre guard was reluctant to help after a failed snatch-theft attempt on her, The Malay Mail sent our reporter for a security check on several malls.

The writer went to three shopping hubs where recent assault and robbery incidents had occurred, to test their security personnel's reaction during emergencies.

She would pose as a single woman fearing to walk to the car park alone after hearing the recent spate of attacks; would ask for assistance by claiming to have seen suspicious characters; or tell the guards she need to be escorted to her car parked in a secluded spot.

This followed an incident on Monday about 11.30pm when Jeremiah and a friend were walking outside The Curve towards Ikano Power Centre after a movie at e@Curve (formerly Cineleisure). She was almost robbed by a man in his 20's who fled with an accomplice empty-handed after she screamed.

She sought help from a guard sitting in front of Ikano and pleaded with him to escort them to her car as they could not use the walkway inside the closed mall.

The security personnel reluctantly relented but left them in the car park halfway, saying his colleague would meet them at the basement level.

There was none and the two ran to their parking lot before lodging a police report.

The reporter's first account story on her checks with security guards at shopping malls yesterday:

I started my first check at the Mid valley Megamall about 1.40pm. I found it hard to find a guard. at the car park, entrance and ground floor.

After walking around for 15 minutes, I spotted a guard at the concourse.

I asked him to escort me to my car at Level 4 as I was scared of going there alone after last Friday's incident where a women was robbed and slashed on the head.

The guard, Firdaus, smiled and followed he until I reached my car. Even though he did not wait for me to enter the car, his gesture was much better than what I experienced with a guard in One Utama, my next destination.

I approached a guard seated at a counter chatting with a colleague patrolling near a hypermarket. I told him I needed someone to accompany me as I saw two suspicious people but the guard assured there would be guards there.

When I insisted on an escort, the guard reluctantly asked a co-worker to follow me.

My foreign escort looked unhappy and was preoccupied with his hand phone until I reached my car.

My last visit was The Curve where three robberies and attacks was reported within six weeks. I retraced Jeremiah's steps and this time, a guard was stationed where the incident took place, looking alert.

When I asked the guard to follow me to the car park via the ramp, he said I had to go through the mall during daytime. I also asked him if he could follow me through the mall and he sad he could arrange for someone for me.

Recent attacks on women

JUNE 25: TV personality Dawn Jeremiah almost became a snatch theft victim outside The Curve shopping mall in Mutiara Damansara when a man tried to grab her handbag. The attacker panicked and fled when she screamed.

JUNE 24: A woman in her late 20s nearly had her finger severed by an armed robber in Taman Tun Dr Ismail. She was in front of a friend's house when a man on a motorcycle approached and snatched her handbag, also attempting to slash her in the process.

JUNE 22: Noorhusna Aisyah Abdul Malek, 24, was robbed and slashed on her head at the Mid Valley Megamall car park.

JUNE 6: Ex-kindergarten teacher Teoh Soo Kim, 51, was beaten and dumped at the Talang oil palm estate in Kuala Selangor where she was found unconscious by passersby. She is still in a coma at Sungai Buloh Hospital.

MAY 28: Two employees had curry powder flung at their faces when two robbers held them up at their shop on the second floor of The Curve, fleeing with weekend takings of RM90,000.

MAY 27: Internet marketeer Chin Xin-Ci, 25, escaped rape by two men when they tried to abduct her at the basement car park of The Curve. She managed to flee after jumping off the moving car.

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