Police ready panic button trial for minimarkets
Sr. Comr. Rikwanto. AntaraCity police say that they will work with the Indonesian Retailers Association (Aprindo) in testing the long-awaited panic button system in numerous minimarkets across North Jakarta next week, although details surrounding the plan are still closely guarded.
The news came as a sigh of relief for many, after prolonged discussions between the two institutions searched for the best way to increase security at minimarkets across Jakarta in the wake of numerous night-time robberies.
“I can’t share any details regarding how many stores and which chains will have panic buttons installed,” police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto told reporters on Tuesday. “All I can say is that the stores are located in Pademangan in North Jakarta.”
The system will connect panic buttons to the nearest police precinct, so that when a robbery occurs, a store attendant can alert police officers and improve their chances of catching criminals in the act.
According to Rikwanto, the main purpose of next week’s trials is to test the response times of minimarket clerks and police officers in handling a robbery.
“The trials’ results will be analyzed to see whether the system will be effective if a real robbery takes place. If the trials turn out to be successful, we hope Aprindo will seriously consider implementing the buttons for real,” he said.
Silent alarms such as these panic buttons has been touted as one of the plans to boost minimarket security in recent months, along with mandatory installation of CCTV systems and requiring stores to hire security guards.
Although the last two measures have been implemented at many minimarkets, neither has been established as a city-wide, cross-chain standard for all minimarkets.
“The thing is, these robbers have extensive knowledge about their target minimarkets: They know where the CCTV recordings are stored and how to take them, they know where the safe boxes are and how to open them,” Rikwanto said.
He also reaffirmed the police’s stance of urging all minimarket owners to hide the CCTV recordings better and not to store a large amount of money in the stores’ safe deposit boxes.
Police data shows that 32 minimarket robberies have occurred since the beginning of the year, most of which took place between midnight and dawn.
Of the 32 robberies, 16 took place at Alfamart stores, 10 at Indomaret, four at Circle K, one at Alfa Express, and one at Alfa Midi. Losses were estimated to reach Rp 390 million (US$41,340).
The last three robberies took place in East Jakarta over the course of two days on June 17 and June 18.
In a robbery at an Alfamart in Klender in the early hours of June 17, burglars walked off with Rp 30 million in cash.
Another two Alfamart locations were robbed the next night: one in Kramat Jati, in which thieves made away with Rp 20 million, and another in Duren Sawit, where Rp 65 million was taken.
A police investigation has found that some of the guns used in the robberies were similar to those confiscated in their raid on illegal gunsmiths in Cipacing, West Java, earlier this month.
“We believe that some of the guns used in the robberies were those that reached the streets prior to our raid in Cipacing,” Rikwanto said.