Warning of increased armed robberies over Easter

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(iStock)
(iStock)

Johannesburg – Cash management solutions company Cash Connect has warned consumers and retailers about the increased probability of armed robberies over Easter.

Consumers' reliance on cash for transactions in stores made them more vulnerable to loss of money through criminal activity, the company said.

Despite the various options like electronic transactions, consumers still prefer to use cash, Cash Connect said. It said that close to 84% of transactions by consumers in-store are conducted with cash.

Due to the increased number of armed robbery incidents during the Easter period in 2017, Cash Connect suspects the same trend this year.

The company said at least six shopping malls were robbed in Durban, and that cash-in-transit heists increased over the 2017 Easter period.

Cash Connect CEO Richard Phillips said, “given the unprecedented increase in cash related robbery over the past twelve months we expect that the month of March will most likely see more and more cash crimes”.

It was also reported that around 72% of retailers deal with cash transactions, making them an easier target and more likely of getting robbed.

The company reported that the cash-in-transit system suffered 256 and 367 armed robbery attacks in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

The law enforcement, crime intelligence and criminal justice system is not doing enough, Phillips said.

“The inability to contain these organised gangs threatens the very core of our cash economy and all who depend on it,” he said. 

Late night armed robberies in shopping centres had risen by over 30% between 2016 and 2017, he added.

Meanwhile, Parliament’s oversight committee on police said on Monday it was concerned about the increasing number of cash-in-transit robberies. 

"The committee is of the view that crime intelligence and detection operations should be increased and the relevant specialised units should be tasked to deal with the current crime trend," it said in a media release. 

"Saps needs to adapt strategies to be one step ahead of the syndicates. The use of technology should also be increased as a force multiplier to deal with the current frequency of cash heists," Chairperson of the portfolio committee on police, Francois Beukman said.

The committee said it would ask Saps about its plans to combat the heists during budget hearings in April.

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