“With an alarming figure of 52 armed robberies on SA businesses each day, retailers are aware that over the festive season they face an increased risk.

During this period there is a significant rise in the flow of cash with the promise of year-end bonuses and savings for festive preparations and gift purchases,” says Richard Phillips, joint CEO of Cash Connect Management Solutions.

An analysis of the monthly national crime data for the five years from April 2006 to March 2011 revealed that murder and serious assault increased by as much as 50% during December each year, while incidents of burglary increased by 8%.

During the festive season, consumers come with loaded credit cards, wads of cash, and leave with overloaded shopping trolleys – wrapped in the joy of safe-summer-expectations. Yet, crime syndicates and organised gangs also find the festive season a time to be jolly. These organised criminals come in large numbers, armed with automatic weapons, and with no regard for property, life or limb. As a result, South Africa’s retail sector has adopted ‘caution’ as its main directive.

“Extended trading hours to accommodate the influx of shoppers and holiday makers further create an opportunity for crime spikes. The upward spiral of robberies occurring at shopping malls is another reality. Fuel retailers and convenience store owners along the routes to and in our holiday destinations will be increasingly vulnerable to cash-related violent crime during this period," adds Phillips.

At a recent retail industry event, the Consumer Goods Council of SA stressed the importance of protecting the retail environment since this accounts for nearly 15% of our GDP. Consequently many business owners have become accustomed to bracing themselves for the December period. Yet, while they wait all year in anticipation of their businesses blooming, they still continue to manage their cash with conventional methods, thereby posing a greater risk of losing their Christmas box. .

It’s up to business owners to take advantage of this technology. In the face of the dramatic rise in violent armed robbery, burglary and bombings against South Africa Retailers, Cash Connect’s retail cash management solutions have proved to be a major deterrent to these crimes. A festive mood encourages merry spending. Safeguard what you’ve worked so hard towards throughout the year – and don’t allow this to once again become a season to be jolly for our criminal underworld.

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