Retailers must accept that cash crime is prevalent in SA and not going away any time soon, says Richard Phillips, joint CEO of retail cash management company Cash Connect.
He told Fin24 that retailers can, however, make a material contribution to improving the general safety of their stores, staff and customers.
"Some of the bigger shopping malls have adopted some very sophisticated technology by which they can transfer cash from stores to secure cash centres. This is laudable," said Phillips.
Here are nine of his top tips for retail safety:
1. Don't flash it - never announce to anyone when you are making a bank run. Once there, avoid openly displaying your cash or using obvious methods to transport cash, like driving to the bank in a branded vehicle on pay day.
2. The element of surprise - Change daily deposit times so that you are not caught with cash in hand.
3. Cash isn't king - Try to do electronic transfers, instead of paying staff wages in cash. Additionally, Phillips says, continued consumer reliance on cash transactions in store means there's more for the taking.
4. Guard your secrets - Many criminals are experts; they study their targets and often obtain inside information from staff.
5. Not just YOLO, BOLO - Rather than the catch phrase You Only Live Once (YOLO), BOLO (Be On the Look-Out) for suspicious strangers hanging around.
6. Guard your assets - Consider closing shop, or if that's not possible, the cash office, for a few minutes before and after cash collections. Make use of the latest technology which has been proven to deter, deflect and defend criminal activity, and ensure you maintain your alarm and surveillance system well.
7. Enlist help - Ask for advice if you need it; the expertise of others can be very helpful. Moreover, include all your staff in being vigilant. You will be surprised how quickly suspicious activity can be picked up by people who are alert. You can prevent something from happening simply by being forewarned.
8. Smile, you're on camera - Video footage can provide valuable evidence for a police investigation after an attack.
9. Don't be a hero - Sometimes even the slightest resistance can cause a lot of trouble. Furthermore, sometimes criminals may be under the influence of drugs which may make them volatile or unpredictable, says Phillips.