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Police urge gold shops to tighten security



Police urge gold shops to tighten security | Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: Phuket police have requested local gold shops tighten security and limit their trading hours to help police better patrol the shops. The call follows a reported spike in the number of gold shop robberies nationwide.

Police met more than 50 local gold shop owners at Phuket City Police Station yesterday to discuss the request along with other possible ways of preventing robberies and catching robbers when they strike.

“We request that every owner set the store hours from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Saturday because Phuket has a limited number of police officers of which about 80% of them have been commanded to closely watch gold shops. It’s hard work for them as they have many other daily duties. I want to ask you to help them,” Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Decha Budnampetch said.

“Every shop should have a warning sticker reading ‘Please, take off your helmet, sunglasses and jacket before coming in’ posted clearly on the glass door.

“Usually, thieves like to rob small, dimly-lit shops so I am not as worried about big gold shops. I want you to install a panic button that you can press during a robbery to warn others. These should not set off an alarm in your shop as this could provoke the robber, but it should be audible outside the shop for your neighbors to hear the warning so they can alert the police,” Gen Decha said, though he made no call for panic buttons linked directly to the police stations.

Some of the gold shop owners asked for police to train them in the use of firearms to protect themselves during a robbery. Gen Decha replied that he did not think this would be a good idea.

Despite the reported rise in the number of robberies, there has been only one case reported in Phuket in 2007 when a lone armed robber made off with about 1.2 million baht worth of gold from Thongroj gold shop on Chao Fa East Rd in January.

Pairat Thongroj, the owner of the Thongroj, complained about the slow response time of the police. He said that before his store was robbed his neighbor called the emergency police phone line to report someone suspicious outside, but it took two to three calls before police responded.

Lt Col Sompong Boonrat, a Deputy Superintendent at Phuket City Police Station, explained, “We must check the information first before ordering officers to proceed to the scene. Now, I have introduced a new process for responding to calls. When we receive a call we will put it over the police radio at the same time so available officers can get the information and respond quickly.”

After the meeting, gold shop owners visited the CCTV surveillance room which receives pictures from 16 cameras strategically positioned around Phuket City.

Despite the police efforts, K. Pairat said that he still feels security is the responsibility of the owners, “In my opinion how long owners keep their shops open for should be up to them.

“At my shop I have added a 24-hour security system that will automatically alert an external monitoring center when anything untoward happens in the shop. I am also getting a steel bar door put in behind the old glass door that I can open and close to screen customers who come in. These will make my shop safer,” he explained.


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