The past few days have seen yet another spate of brazen cash-in-transit (CIT) robberies as organised criminals left their mark in several provinces on a shopping spree for large amounts of cash. 

According to news reports by SABRIC, the country has already suffered a loss of R15 million in CIT robberies between January and April 2017. This number has almost certainly risen since then.

“The 2015/2016 national crime statistics indicated a 15% increase in CIT robberies, proving that organised crime remains very active in the cash economy,” says Richard Phillips, joint CEO of Cash Connect and an expert in cash management and logistics. “This threatens the very artery that feeds our economy.”

Armed robberies are executed by seasoned and experienced criminals who organise themselves into syndicates. These hardened and extremely dangerous gangsters primarily target CIT armoured vehicles, ATMs and retail cash deposit devices.

The sheer scale of their operations requires considerable planning, equipment and finance. These criminals are therefore regarded as among the most dangerous and well organised in the country.

Phillips adds, “With the cash in circulation figure at around R130 billion, retail businesses will remain a priority target for professional crime syndicates. We believe that retailers in South Africa deserve to trade in a safe and secure business environment. In view of the current increase in armoured vehicle heists, cross pavement attacks and armed robberies against retailers, we urge business owners to be extra vigilant.”

Security professionals offer the following precautionary measures:

  • Prevent cash from becoming a target by regularly depositing takings into the cash deposit device and keeping cash at points-of-sale to a minimum.
  • Keep in mind that robbers carefully survey their targets before an attack. Therefore be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles and people lurking in the area.
  • Urge staff to not disclose any information about the way the business is run and to report suspicious enquiries to the business owner immediately. They should be particularly wary of anyone wanting to know about banking habits, CIT providers or CIT collection times.
  • Consider closing shop for a few minutes before and during cash-in-transit collections.
  • Alternatively isolate and close down the area during the collections and ensure that the room where the cash exchange or handover is being made has access restrictions.
  • Assist the cash-in-transit collection team by being prepared. This keeps the collection service time window short, sharp and safe.

To further reduce their risk for becoming a cash robbery target, businesses should consider a robust automated cash management and payment solution. A cash vault device that is built to at least a category 4 SABS standard can withstand most of the toughest of attacks and act as an effective deterrent.

“We can bring cash crime right down through the dedication, expertise and skills of the various industry organisations, provided we act now,” concludes Phillips.


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