THE Hillcrest SAPS are warning businesses in the area to be cautious, as businesses robberies have increased in the Upper Highway area.The latest incident occurred in Botha’s Hill where a store was robbed.According to Hillcrest SAPS communications officer Captain Linzi Smith, a man broke into the store and stole cash.She said the number of robberies compared to February last year has increased.“For the month of February, robberies have increased slightly and there are tips that people should follow in order to prevent it from happening to them,” said Smith. The SAPS offered some tips for business owners and individuals to follow to avoid being a victim of a robbery:• if you need to pay accounts, consider options that are lower risk instead of withdrawing large sums of cash;• carry as little cash as possible;• consider the convenience of paying your accounts electronicallyYou can contact your bank to find out about other available options; and• consider making use of cellphone banking or Internet transfers or ATMs to do your banking. A small business which is cash-based and needs to deposit money at the bank on a regular basis should apply the following tips which will minimise the chances of being a victim of robbery:• alternate the days and times on which you deposit cash;• never make your bank visits public, even to people close to you;• do not openly display the money you are depositing while you are standing in the bank queue;• avoid carrying money bags, briefcases or openly displaying your deposit receipt book;• it’s advisable to identify another branch nearby that you can also visit to do banking to ensure that your banking pattern is not easily recognisable or detected;• if the amount of cash you are regularly depositing is increasing as your business grows, consider changing your system to use the services of a cash management company;• refrain from giving wages to your contracts or casual labourers in full view of the public. Rather make use of wage accounts that can be provided by your bank;• refrain from driving to the bank in your company branded vehicle on a typical pay day; and• consider arranging for electronic transfers of wages to your account or casual labourers’ personal accounts.Savings club and stokvel members can also be targeted by robbers. If you are a member of a cash savings club, advise members of your club of the following tips that will assist your club to avoid being a victim of cash robberies:• refrain from making cash deposits of club members’ contributors on high-risk days, such as Mondays after month-end;• ensure that people who are depositing club cash contributions or making withdrawals are companied by another club member;• a stokvel, savings club or burial society can arrange for members to deposit cash directly into the club’s account, instead of collecting cash from the contributors; and• arrange for the club’s pay out to be electronically transferred into each club member’s personal account or accounts of their choice.She said that these tips are offered to make the public more aware and vigilant, and emphasised that if anyone with any information with regards to any robberies or other criminal activities can contact the Hillcrest SAPS.“They can also choose to be anonymous when reporting these robberies or any other criminal activities,” added Smith.