FOOD has proved a solution to reducing the amount of theft at Waterford Plaza.
The shopping centre has been able to reduce the cost of theft from about $8000 per week to $900 per week by giving away free food packs to people in need and engaging with the community about the issue.
Centre manager Vivienne Steur said the program started late last year after they saw an influx of people stealing food.
“The answer as to why people were stealing things was because they were hungry,” she said.
“The food came from Coles and IGA, after we approached them to see what they were doing with damaged food.
“The owners, Midpoint Holdings, and managing agents Lease Equity wanted to get back to grassroots marketing and to the heart of the problem, which simply was the fact people were hungry.
“Working together with City of South Perth, Richmond Wellbeing, Department of Housing, Lifestream Church, Moorditj Keila, headspace, Maar Moorditj, community members and retailers at Waterford Plaza we were able to put together food packs to help those in our community stretch their money a little further.”
Mrs Steur said people could only access the food once per week and needed to live in the local area.
“They have to show us they are at risk, it can’t be simply because they want free food,” she said.
Waterford Plaza was recognised for the program at the Property Council of Australia’s WA Property Awards in September, with the shopping centre winning the Retail Marketing Campaign of the Year award.
“I’m enormously proud for the community, this has been a very important grassroots marketing campaign,” Mrs Steur said.