Photo “Police” by RL GNZLZ under Creative Commons License
6 May 2016. Santiago, Chile. Over the last six months, there have been frequent reports of jewelry store robberies in broad daylight in malls around Chile.
Just last year, a robber was killed in the Alto Las Condes Mall, a fancy mall in one of Santiago’s priciest neighborhoods.
Government Blames Malls, Malls Blame Government
All this mayhem prompted the Minister of the Interior, the Mall Owners Association, and the Carabineros (national police) to get together to discuss changes at a national level.
The minister put forth the suggestion to give more responsibility to the mall security guards, writes La Tercera. But the Mall Association said they did not want to arm the guards because they felt they were not ready for that kind of work and said that it is the police’s responsibility.
The Carabineros said they would look at changing their protocol to see how they could help the private security firms.
All of this is to be added to a new private security bill under review in the Senate since December.
But so far jewelry stores are still being targeted.
Mayhem in the Malls
On January 18, at 10 AM thieves brazenly stole 40 watches in a daytime robbery of the jewelry store Beat in the Paseo Quilín mall. The assailants escaped in a stolen vehicle.
Just 8 days later, thieves robbed a jewelry store in the upscale Parque Arauco Mall at 3 PM. This was another bold robbery in the middle of the day in a mall that is filled with foot traffic. The four robbers got away.
And on April 24th thieves robbed two different jewelers in the Apumanque mall in Santiago. A mall guard confessed to aiding the criminals.
According to El Mercurio, the guard, Rodolfo Cristián Romero Román, was contacted by the thieves before they committed the robbery.
Those thieves hit six different jewelry stores in different locations in two hours, taking in $133 million Chilean pesos ($200,000 USD) of stolen goods.
Who is in Charge of Security?
Bio Bio Chile reports that, given these continued incidents, another meeting was held, this time between the congressmen of the Security Commission and Antonio Frey, the assistant secretary of Crime Prevention, to determine how to move the bill on private security forward.
Daniel Farcas, Chairman of the Security Commission, wants to push this bill forward because it seeks to provide better regulation of private security, better training, more careful screening, and increased penalties for violating rules.
The police chief General Manuel Letelier said that they have had plans to reduce these crimes, ones that involved coordinating with the malls altogether.
Again, the debate this time focused on who has the responsibility for providing security. The authorities said the private guards need to step up their efforts to do that, while businesses said it is the government’s responsibility.
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February 05, 2017
I really enjoyed this story. It made me think about my own predisposit
Thank you, Scott.
I have been living in Santiago for about one year and I can confirm th
This was an enjoyable read. I could easily picture the venue and und
Thank you so much, Melanie. I appreciate your kind words about my stor