Increase of 150% in business robberies

Richard Philips explains the worrying statistics of crime in South Africa, with an astonishing five cash-in-transit crimes in the last five days.


Robbers fled with an undisclosed amount of cash after blowing up a van during a major cash-in-transit heist on the R24 on 1 April.

Richard Phillips, chief executive at Cash Connect said, “In all my years of working in this industry, I have never seen anything like this. The explosion was the biggest I have seen and criminals are without a doubt becoming smarter and more determined in their methods.”

A media briefing was held at Innesfree View in Sandton on 5 April to discuss the latest trends in business crime, and South Africa’s leaders in automated cash management solutions for the retails sector shared their insights.

Read Crime tips from the police

While the retail sector is trying to recover from the spate of violent armed robberies in December, the Easter holidays are also a time for increased robberies.

Phillips said robberies in the retail sector increased by more than 150 per cent this year. “In the same period, the use of plastic explosives in attempts to steal from cash deposit devices increased by over 400 per cent. We can reasonably expect to see a spike in business crime during April as consumers go on holiday and the volume of cash increases at retail stores across the country,” he said.

According to Phillips the statistics are shocking, with a 15 per cent increase in cash-in-transit robberies, 54 armed robberies every day and close to 20 000 armed attacks recorded for the period of 2015 and 2016.

The trends show that syndicates attack in groups of six to 12 armed men, and their attacks last approximately three minutes. Eighty per cent of all armed robberies are committed on Saturday or Sunday evenings, and 90 per cent of attacks on businesses are done with the help of employees. Criminals target stores that have large amounts of cash on their premises and the attacks are well-planned.

Read Step up your home security to avoid becoming a victim of crime

The common use of plastic explosives to target cash deposit devices and the dramatic increase in this kind of attack suggests that criminals are enjoying an abnormally high degree of success and that many of these devices are not strong enough to offer the necessary resistance to discourage them.

In spite of all this doom there is a bit of hope, said Philips. “We welcome the minister’s recent commitment to a specialised police task force approach to cash crime, as this is an essential part of the cash industry’s response to extremely violent and potentially crippling crime. The practice by some retail organisations, of closing their stores or, in larger corporations, the cash collection precinct within the store, during the cash-in-transit collection, has [also] proved to be a particularly successful tactic in countering the risk,” he said.

In conclusion, Philips said the Connectr 3000 cash vault technology which is built to SABS category 4 standards has been vigorously tested over the past few years and has not failed once. “It has undeniably delivered on the level of deterrence and defence. Now is the time that we need to all work together so that these criminals do not threaten the heartbeat of our community,” said Philips.

What are your thoughts about the increase in crime during the Easter season. Tell us on WhatsApp on 079 439 5345.

Jessica Knibbs

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