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Watch out for spike in robberies, businesses warned

Sep 20 2018 06:06

Businesses warned to vigilant of crime as festive season approaches

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Retailers have been warned to be extra vigilant when handling cash as the festive season approaches - which often brings with it a spike in business robberies. 

Even ahead of the expected spike, SA businesses have seen an increase in crime in 2018.

According to data collected by cash management company Cash Connect, retailers' robberies have increased by 7% in the first eight months of the year.

Cash and cigarettes were the main targets during robberies, as a large number of retailers are still handling significant amounts of cash manually, making them vulnerable to criminal attacks.

"The festive season usually sees an increase in robberies, and South Africa is largely a cash country. There is a need to change the way we do things in order to help prevent cash crimes," said Richard Phillips, joint CEO of Cash Connect.

One in four may be robbed

According to the company, only 28% of retailers are said to have modern automated cash management systems, and 1 out of 4 stand a chance of being a target in an armed robbery.

Cash Connect recommends the following mechanism to businesses to avoid being a victim of crime:

  • Install intruder detection and panic buttons;
  • Closed Circuit Television Surveillance;
  • Be prepared, keep the collection time window short, sharp and safe;
  • Vigilance - be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles and people; and
  • Involve your staff.

The head of crime risk initiative at Consumer Council of South Africa, Abraham Nelson said the group often engaged with the police to discuss ways to counter crime trends on businesses.

Nelson would not divulge the cost of robberies to businesses, but confirmed that plans were underway to prepare for the busy festive season period, which involves collaboration with the police.

He said small businesses and high-end shopping malls were equally vulnerable to crime, saying the theft of cigarettes during robberies was an indication that the goods were used to sustain the illegal tobacco trade.

Theft of alcohol has also been on the rise, he said.

Recent crime statistics showed that 55 armed robberies were committed against businesses each day.

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