MEDIA RELEASE: Latest crime stats: retail cash crime still high on criminal agenda
Johannesburg: 11 September 2018 The latest national crime statistics for the period 2017/2018 indicate for the first time in many years, a slight downward trend in retail cash crime.
“The total of 20 047 reported armed robberies against non-residential targets confirm a marginal downward trend in cash crime,” says Richard Phillips: joint CEO of Cash Connect. “Although these statistics show a slight improvement, retail cash crime is undoubtedly still high on the criminal agenda, and remains a great concern that the retail sector is under fierce attack from criminals who want to get their hands on cash.”
“As an industry we commend government and law enforcement for taking a firm stand against the cash-in-transit heist epidemic. However, the 55 armed attacks a day against South African business not only begs for government’s attention but is also a call for urgent collaborative intervention to prioritise cash crime in its entirety,” adds Phillips.
The national crime statistics released today by Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, show clear similarities between cash-in-transit robberies and retail cash crime, supporting the cash industry’s long-held opinion that the same organised syndicates are involved in committing these crimes. More surprising this year, is that bank robberies have shown a sudden increase again, proving that syndicates are determined to feed their greed for cash.
For the period 2017/2018, business robberies decreased by 3.1% from 20 680 in 2016/2017 to 20 047 for the latest reported year, while the business burglaries figure also shows a downward spiral with 71 195 reported cases for the 2017/2018 period.
“Government and law enforcement have undoubtedly made progress in bringing the epidemic under some control, following the spate of cash-in-transit robberies during the first half of 2018,” says Phillips. “We can only hope that we can contain CIT crime, particularly in the run up to the festive season. More so, we hope that retail cash crime will receive the same attention, allowing our retailers and the consumers who support them to enjoy a safer holiday period than last year,” says Phillips.
Recent Cash Crime Statistics
Retail cash crime has been as prolific as cash-in-transit heists. Shoprite, one of South Africa’s largest retail chain groups announced this past week that it experienced 489 armed robberies at its stores in the last year and that this had a direct impact on its share price, which fell by four percent.
The fuel retail industry has also been subjected to an unprecedented surge in armed robberies and bombings of cash devices. “The rise of armed robberies and bombings at fuel station forecourts has become a matter that requires urgent interventions from both government and the SAPS. The highest number of forecourt crime types reported has been attacking cash devices, tills and convenience stores, with Gauteng and Limpopo with the most reported cases,” says Reggie Sibiya, CEO of the Fuel Retailers Association.
“Retailers, particularly those who deal with large volumes of cash on site, need to be extra vigilant in securing their cash and increasing security in their stores,” stresses Phillips.
As South Africa’s leader in automated cash management and payment solutions, Cash Connect enables retailers to trade in a safe and secure environment. Phillips mentions that Cash Connect’s technology has been proven to be most effective deterrent in the local retail sector. “Even in these extremely violent times, criminals have failed to gain access to the cash in the vaults, in fact, Cash Connect only experienced incidents at less than two percent of its client base this past year. Criminals are increasingly becoming aware that our cash vaults are extremely difficult to attack. In any event, the statistics demonstrate that the risk of armed robberies at retail stores is greatly mitigated by automated cash management solutions that make use of robust cash vaults.”
Cash device bombings have seen a marked decline in the past six months compared to the same period last year, primarily as a result of our innovative design. Moreover, Cash Connect is celebrating the fact that in 94% of attacks where explosives were used, the criminals were successfully thwarted and could not access the cash.
Business burglaries, which also show a slight decrease, still however indicate that criminals are determined to get their hands on cash. Business burglaries are particularly prevalent in stores where doors are closed at the end of the business day.
South Africa is still largely a cash-driven economy, with cash transactions representing close on 60 percent of our GDP. While cash remains king, we cannot stress enough the importance for government and law enforcement to prioritise cash crime as a whole, including retail cash crime.
For more information on the latest #CrimeStats and tips for retailers to reduce your risk for an armed robbery go to https://cashconnectsus.co.za/crime-stats-2018 or follow us on Twitter @cashconnectsus for the latest cash and crime statistics and news.