Mart robberies leave attendants rattled
The graveyard shift has never been a favorite with shopkeepers, but the recent increase in armed robberies at 24-hour minimarkets in Jakarta has prompted them to demand their companies and authorities provide better protection.
A male shop attendant, who refused to be named, at an Alfamart outlet on Jl. Otista Raya III, East Jakarta, says that he now feels afraid to work the last shift, which runs from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m., after becoming a victim of an armed robbery. On June 8, four robbers burst into his workplace at around 4 a.m.
“The incident happened so fast,” he said on Tuesday, recalling his traumatic experience.
He said the robbers threatened him and his colleague with meat cleavers and a firearm, forcing them to disclose the location of the store’s safe. The robbers then bound his arms and legs with shoe laces and wire before making away with Rp 60 million (US$6,400) in cash.
The incident had deeply affected the 23-year-old shop attendant. “I am still afraid if I have to work the last shift,” he said.
Yet, he was relieved with his outlet’s decision to shorten its operational hours.
“Due to the incident, our local coordinator has instructed us to close the outlet at 10 p.m. It will open again at 5 a.m.,” said the attendant, who has worked for almost a year at the location.
His anxiety is also shared by another shop attendant, Neneng Hayati, 24, who has never had to work the last shift. Neneng works at an Indomaret outlet, just steps away from the Alfamart that was robbed on June 8.
Company policy exempts all female employees from having to work the late shift, similar to the rule in place at Alfamart outlets.
However, even though Neneng does not have to work the last shift, she still feels scared with the rise of armed robberies in Jakarta.
“It seems like armed robberies are happening every day. How can I not be afraid?” Neneng said.
Both Neneng and the aforementioned male shop attendant still feel less secure at their workplaces even though they have been equipped with standard security protections like close circuit television cameras (CCTV) and a panic button to instantly alert authorities should trouble arise. According to them, the presence of security officers, either from their companies or police officers, is still needed.
“When the robbery happened, there was no security officer on guard,” said the male Alfamart attendant.
So far, both Alfamart and Indomaret have only relied on local security officers to protect their outlets. They have not provided private security guards (satpam) to secure their outlets.
“We rely on locals because we think they can guard our outlets continuously,” Alfamart spokesman Yulianto said.
Meanwhile, Indomaret’s public relations manager, Nenny Kristyawati, said that the authorities, like police officers, should provide better protection with the rise of armed robberies. “They [police officers] are entrusted to protect all citizens. We will be glad if they patrol more frequently to protect citizens, including people who work at 24-hour minimarkets,” she said.
East Jakarta Police chief detective Adj. Sr. Comr. Dian Perri said that the spike of armed robberies had prompted him to deploy more officers to patrol and guard several 24-hour minimarkets. However, he said, mini-market operators should not only rely on police.
“If mini-market operators decide to keep their outlets open 24 hours, they should also be prepared to equip them with private security guards.” (riz)
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