Shoprite says it has dealt a major blow against crime over the past three years, securing over 1 700 years of prison time – including 24 life sentences – for criminals.

The company said in a statement yesterday it had also seen a year-on-year decline in armed robberies and burglaries, while successfully prosecuting numerous criminals who had committed crimes against it, Fin24 reports.

It did not specify what these crimes were, but said the criminals concerned had received a total 1 384 years – including 24 life sentences – over the past three years.

The number swelled to more than 1 700 if the number of awaiting trial suspects – still behind bars due to it successfully opposing bail – was taken into account.

As far as awaiting trial suspects are concerned, they had been in custody for 395 years and eight months.

The retailer did not specify exactly how many criminals were affected by its efforts.

Shoprite established a command centre in 2018, from which a specialist team of investigators, data and crime analysts and law experts operated to protect customers and employees using technology, artificial intelligence and an intelligence network.

This centre monitors the group’s large range of business assets, including more than 3 000 stores, a fleet of 1 000 trucks, and 1 500 truck trailers.

The company has also employed an expert criminal lawyer to help with the prosecution of criminals, while data and crime analysts testify in support of aggravating circumstances during sentencing.

Full Fin24 report