Cash crimes peak in April

WHILE the retail sector is trying to recover from the spate of violent armed robberies in December, the next peak season for crime is right on our doorstep.

“All indications suggest that the retail sector experienced over 150 per cent increase in robberies in 2016. 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,” says Richard Phillips, joint CEO of Cash Connect Management Solutions.

As consumers plan to take a break, criminals certainly don’t prepare to take time off – this is in fact their peak period for business.

The trends show that syndicates attack in groups of six to 12 armed men, with armed robberies as the highest number of attacks, closely followed by business burglaries.

Read: Another armed robbery at one of Mall of the South’s stores

The common use of plastic explosives in the execution of an armed robbery against 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 the devices in use are not strong enough to offer the type of resistance necessary to discourage them.

During a burglary, the findings show that general retail stores that only trade during the day-time are attacked when the stores are closed for business – the pattern with these occurrences is that an assortment of cutting machines, angle grinders and the like are generally used to access the safes.

Security professionals caution that robberies are more often than not executed with careful planning by organised crime syndicates which collect as much information about the target as possible. Information about the amount of cash and the general what, when and how regarding the protection of cash is gleaned from within the business either by observation or by the help of employees or contractors, and in some cases, both.

It is a commonly held view in the security industry that more than 90 per cent of all attacks on businesses involve voluntary or involuntary participation from the inside.

Criminals are, without a doubt, becoming smarter and more determined in their methods. The common use of explosives is indicative of how skilled they are becoming.

“Time is a very important consideration of the attackers. The practice by some retail organisations, of closing their stores or, in larger operations, the cash collection precinct within the store, during the CIT collection, has proved to be a particularly successful tactic in countering and reducing the risk for attack during the store’s most vulnerable time of day,” says Phillips.

With many of the latest attacks, CCTV footage shows that criminals are able to disable alarm systems and proceed straight to the cash vault, in a manner that suggests a familiarity with the layout of the store and where the cash is kept.

Also Read: House robberies on the increase in Kibler Heights

Armed reaction companies suggest that businesses should make sure there is more than one panic button with quick, easy access of armed response on site. The jamming of security systems and devices is also a common tactic used to block the signals that go to the security company. The use of an alarm system connected to both a radio transmitter and landline could counter this.

“Our cash vault technology, which is built to SABS Category four standards, has been vigorously tested over the past few years by determined criminals using every kind of tool from explosives to sledge hammers. It has undeniably delivered on the level of deterrence and defence necessary to discourage a repetitive attack of violent crime,” says Phillips.

For free daily local news in the south, visit our sister newspapers Alberton RecordComaro ChronicleSouthern Courier and Get it Joburg South Magazine.

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  AUTHOR
Julie Maule
Comaro Chronicle News Editor

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