With less than two weeks to go before Christmas, the retail sector is booming with increased shopper activity. In the same vein, it goes without saying that criminals are also busy getting ready for the festive season.

The recent spate of cash in transit heists, with five incidents reported in the last week, proves that criminals are geared up to get their hands on cash with their brazenly planned attacks, and they will do so without any thought for life or limb.

We are witnessing an unprecedented increase in violent armed robberies against Retailers and the Cash in Transit sectors nationally. There is little doubt that our Retailers, the Cash in Transit companies and the Police services have to take this threat very seriously and change the way they deal with cash crime.   

The automation of the management of cash in the retail store has become a necessary and essential strategy in order to safeguard business continuity in the retail space.

Although many transactions are concluded with credit cards or other electronic payment methods, cash remains the preferred trading mechanism for thousands of consumers, particularly at this time of year. Traditionally, there is an almost 40% increase in the volume of cash held on retail sites during December, compared to the average cash volumes during other months of the year. 

“The combination of increased cash in circulation and the fact that we have an extra-long Christmas weekend this year, means that retailers have to be extra vigilant and proactive around managing their cash risks on site,” says Richard Phillips, joint CEO of Cash Connect Management Solutions.

The most important and effective way to decrease risk is by installing an automated retail cash management and payment solution that is robust and can resist the toughest of attacks. Cash Connect’s cash vaults, are built to SABS Category 4 standards and have acquired a reputation for their ability to withstand most attacks – including those carried out with explosives – and which provides a formidable deterrent.

But even an automated cash management solution needs vigilance and intelligent management practices to deter criminals. These include:

  • Prevent cash from becoming a target by regularly depositing takings into the cash deposit device and keeping cash at points-of-sale to a minimum.
  • Schedule ad hoc cash-in-transit collections before the Christmas and new years’ long weekends start to reduce increased value being kept on site unnecessarily.
  • Keep in mind that criminals carefully survey their targets before an attack. Therefore be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles and people lurking in the area.
  • Urge staff to report suspicious enquiries to the business owner immediately. They should be particularly wary of anyone wanting to know about banking habits, CIT providers or CIT collection times.
  • Consider closing shop for a few minutes before and during cash-in-transit collections. Alternatively isolate and close down the area during the collections and ensure that the room where the cash exchange or handover is being made has access restrictions.
  • Assist the cash-in-transit collection team by being prepared. This keeps the collection service time window short, sharp and safe.

Cash Connect believes that South African retailers should trade in a safe and secure environment.  A festive mood encourages merry spending.  Safeguard what you’ve worked so hard towards throughout the year – and don’t allow this to once again become a season to be jolly for our criminal underworld.