Megamall heist shows criminals shifting to 'softer targets' — police

Last Saturday night's robbery at the two unguarded jewelry stalls inside SM Megamall showed that criminals are now shifting their targets, a ranking police official said Thursday. "We call this small time because the robbers in SM hindi po nila alam kung alin ang mahal at saka mura doon sa ninakaw nila," said

Superintendent Tomas Rentoy III, chief of the PNP Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies (PNP-SOSIA), at a press briefing at Camp Crame. "Ibig sabihin, 'yung mga kriminal ngayon, nag-shift target and they are going to softer targets kasi na-harden na natin 'yung security sa high value targets nila dati," he added. Police said the jewelry stores, F&C Jewelry and The Jeweler, which lost 176 pieces of jewelry to the six robbers, have yet to release the value of the missing pieces of jewelry. Rentoy noted that establishments have improved their security systems, prompting criminals to target establishments that are “less secured.” "'Yung security guards nila siguro snappy na ngayon at more credible kaya 'yung tinatarget nila ngayon ay 'yung mas less secured," he said. Rentoy said police will continue addressing these problems and commit to intensifying security. "Through

the years we are addressing these problems squarely and this time we are addressing it squarely also." Review of security system Meanwhile, after last Saturday's robbery inside SM Megamall, police has ordered the review of the security system of all shopping malls and similar establishments. Rentoy said the PNP met with security managers of mall and universities Thursday morning to assess the level of preparedness of the private security industry in securing the public. He said they have come up with a new 200-page mall security manual to serve as guide for security personnel involved in securing malls and similar establishments. Rentoy also said on-duty guards are now allowed to carry their firearms inside malls. Security guards will start their retraining next week to improve their

marksmanship. "Hindi pwedeng may baril ang security guard na hindi naman niya alam gamitin, baka iba ho 'yung tamaan. Kailangang asintado po sila para 'yung ating pinoproteksyunan, the public will be spared from accidents," he said. Security guards will also undergo retraining on self defense and emergency response on medical situations, hostage and suicide attempts, he added. Meanwhile, PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima said mall management must follow the new order. "Actually, that is mandatory, we have supervisory powers if they do not follow may be we can cancel their licenses. Wala ng awa ngayon, we will be very strict," said Purisima. In an earlier report, Rentoy said the police is studying the possibility of fining security agencies serving the SM Megamall for security lapses that allowed several men with firearms to get inside the establishment. Asked if suspending security agencies involved was possible, Rentoy said: "Medyo extreme na po iyon... but we are looking at fines." — KBK, GMA News

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