Johannesburg, 12 September 2019

Today, Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, announced the national crime statistics for 2018/19, highlighting that South African retail businesses still operate in a danger zone. 

“As an industry, we commend government and law enforcement for their efforts in ensuring a decline in business, bank and CIT robberies. Although the latest #crimestatssa show an improvement,  the reality is that South African businesses are still experiencing high crime levels, with 55 armed robbery attacks and 195 burglaries a day – this remains a huge concern, and begs for greater efforts  by all concerned,” says Richard Phillips, joint CEO of Cash Connect.

According to the Minister, non-residential robberies declined by a mere 56 incidents (0.28%) in the year ending February 2019 from 20 047 to 19 991, while non-residential burglaries increased by 29 attacks (0,04%) from 71 195 to 71 224.

The Consumer Goods Council of SA confirms that armed robbery attacks against their retail members over the same reported period, decreased by 12% compared to the previous period (2,272), while burglary attacks dropped by 13% (631).

“We are encouraged by the 23% drop in attacks against retail cash devices among the CGCSA retail members in the first eight months of this year,” adds Phillips. 

The Cash in Transit (CIT) industry is a critical service provider to the economy and its performance has a direct impact on retailers across the country. While we applaud the reduction of 23% in violent attacks against the CIT companies for the reported period, we note that in the first eight months of this year, incidents of CIT robbery have escalated to an average of over eight incidents a week and suggests that the justice cluster’s co-ordinated approach, as promised by the Minister last year, has not properly materialised.

The national crime statistics released today, show clear similarities between CIT robberies and retail cash crime - supporting our opinion that the same organised syndicates are often involved in committing these crimes. 

As South Africa’s leader in automated cash management and payment solutions, Cash Connect’s intelligent technology has proven to be most effective crime deterrent in the local retail sector. “Statistics demonstrate that the risk of armed robberies at retail stores is greatly mitigated when business owners choose to use robust cash vaults,” says Phillips.

“Cash Connect’s goal is to enable cash-driven businesses to operate in a safe trading environment. Against a growth of 37% cash vaults deployed in the comparable year ending February 2019, only 3% of our clients experienced an attack. Of these, 80% of the armed robbery attacks and 84% of bomb attacks against our clients were successfully defended.”

Bank robberies have shown a significant decline of 69% with only 4 incidents. As much as the banking sector has improved its security, organised criminals are skilled and professional. Their modus operandi includes; meticulous planning for flawless execution, and they act with military precision – no wonder their brazen use of automatic weapons, bombing of ATMs, cash vans or cash vaults, are all part of normal activity.

Attacks against the fuel retail industry decreased by just over 3% in the same year ending February 2019. “We are pleased with the near 46% decline in attacks on cash devices at fuel station forecourts in the first eight months of this year, this proves a multi-faceted approach to tackling the scourge of violent crime in our sector,” says Reggie Sibiya, the CEO of the Fuel Retailers Association.

But, what needs to be done?

With approximately R140billion circulating in South Africa at any given time, cash crime is still a serious problem and we can’t afford to become complacent. 

“Government and law enforcement have made some progress in reducing cash crime attacks across the country,” says Mark Templemore-Walters, Operations Director of Cash Connect.. “There has also been a positive uptake in the number of retailers turning to cash vault automation. We can only hope that we can continue to win the support of more and more retailers to help mitigate retail cash crime, particularly as the festive season approaches,” adds Templemore-Walters.

For more information on the latest #CrimeStats and tips for retailers to reduce your risk for an armed robbery go to https://crimestatssouthafrica.co.za/ or follow us on Twitter or Facebook @cashconnectsus for the latest cash and crime statistics and news.

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