Long weekends are notorious for spikes in criminal activities, whether it be business or residential. However, increased consumer spend over long weekends, automatically shifts the focus to retail cash crime where large volumes of cash accumulate in stores. 

While consumers prepare for a weekend away, or stock up for their braais to entertain, the primary target for armed robberies will be the likes of fuel stations, supermarkets, liquor stores, wholesalers and butcheries. This is largely due to the increased volume of cash that creates an immediate vulnerability for these retailers.

“South Africa’s retail sector remains under siege of fierce and violent attacks, as criminals hunt for cash and exploit the chance to hit a cash jackpot,” says Richard Phillips, joint CEO of Cash Connect

Retail trade in South Africa is dominated by cash. Despite the fact that consumers make use of electronic or card payments, about 85% of all transactions in our country are still in the form of cash. This explains why 90% of all criminal attacks are in pursuit of cash.

Phillips cannot stress enough that retailers should be as focused on protecting their cash as criminals are on taking it. With approximately 75, 000 retailers in our country, only 28% have adopted some form of modern or automated cash management system. The vast majority - 72% - remain highly vulnerable, as they continue to manually manage and bank large volumes of cash.

As the country’s leading provider of intelligent, robust and automated cash vaults, Cash Connect strives to create a safe and secure trading environment for retailers. 

Phillips therefore urges retailers to apply these security tips as a means to reduce their risk for an armed attack, not just for the upcoming long weekend, but in general trading times too:

Cash in-store:

  • Check that your cash management device is robust enough to withstand the toughest of attacks, including those carried out using plastic explosives.
  • Consider a cash vault that is built to a minimum SABS category 4 standard.
  • Deposit cash into your cash device frequently throughout the trading day to keep cash at points-of-sale to a bare minimum.
  • Pay staff wages through electronic transfers instead of cash.

Cash-in-transit (CIT):

  • Consider closing shop for a few minutes before and during CIT collections. 
  • Alternatively, isolate and close down the cash office area during the collections and ensure that the room where the cash exchange or handover is being made has restricted access.
  • Assist the CIT collection team by being prepared. This keeps the collection service time window short, sharp and safe.  If your collection is ready, this process should only take about three minutes, hardly disrupting trade.
  • Make sure that you have opted for a public holiday CIT collection in your contract with your service provider, otherwise upgrade to have this included.
  • Be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles and people lurking in the area – especially a few days before the long weekend.
  • Urge staff to not disclose any information about the way the business is run and to report suspicious enquiries to the business owner immediately.
  • Report anyone wanting to know about banking habits, CIT providers or CIT collection times.

Banking (only if you really have to):

  • Never announce to anyone when you are taking cash to the bank.
  • Avoid openly displaying the money you are depositing while standing at an ATM or in a bank queue.
  • Don’t carry money bags or briefcases when going to deposit cash at an ATM or at the bank.
  • Change the days and times on which you deposit cash, and the ATMs and bank branches you use, so your banking pattern is not easily recognisable.
  • Refrain from driving to the bank in your company branded vehicle on a typical pay day.
  • The most logical tip is to consider a cash management device that eliminates any form of manual banking.

Given that it can take retailers up to six months to make up the revenue losses resulting from an armed attack, it is clearly not worth gambling with the wellbeing of your business, your staff and your customers. 

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