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#CrimeStats: 57 business robberies per day

Oct 24 2017 20:12
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg - More than 20 000 South African businesses recorded armed robberies over the past year, a 4.9% spike from the previous year, according to the latest crime statistics. 

Speaking on the latest data released by Police Minister Fikile Mbalula on Tuesday, Richard Phillips, joint CEO of cash management and cash payment solutions provider Cash Connect, said the 20 680 robberies amounted to 57 attacks per day.

The overwhelming majority of robberies - some 95% - were of cash. Cash-in-transit (CIT) heists, meanwhile, increased 11% to a total of 152.

For this reason cash crimes had to be prioritised by authorities, said Phillips.

“The SA Police Service have to ensure that crime intelligence, policing, the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) and the courts collaborate with the cash industry in the interests of safeguarding the cash that feeds the retail and commercial economy,” he said.

Phillips argued that organised crime syndicates were behind the robberies.

“Professional and habitual criminals who are extremely well organised, skilled and financed, are attacking the retail sector, the CIT sector, as well as banks and ATMs in pursuit of large quantities of cash,” he said.

Three ways to fight crime

Phillips recommend three areas of investment to stop crimes against business.

The first is crime fighting initiatives that focus on bank and CIT crime. “Fighting this type of crime has to be at least as sophisticated as the planning and execution that make it possible,” he said.

There also needs to be investment in research and development in the cash-in-transit industry.

CIT providers have become “cash strapped”, he said. 

“The margins that previously were available for R&D (research and development) are simply not there anymore,” he said. “And as risks and attacks increase, our insurance costs skyrocket. In the meantime, the syndicates keep refining their methods and are becoming more successful and, consequently, more brazen again.”

“The cash industry is of strategic importance to the South African economy,” said Phillips. Minimum CIT operating standards and service fees should be a matter of legislation, Phillips suggested.

Third, he proposed that employers needed to safeguard their own businesses by engaging with employees and investing in better workplace relationships, as attacks on businesses were often carried out with inside information. 

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