The Retail Industry, which accounts for 18% of South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product, is under fierce attack. The latest national crime statistics show a record 54 armed robbery attacks against businesses each day and nearly 20 000 business robberies for the last year.

“As another year enters its last quarter, we note the increase in armed robberies and device bombings. Retailers would serve their interests well to review the security of their stores, and their cash management services in particular, to avoid falling victim to unexpected and violent attacks that can have dire consequences for the safety of staff and customers, as well as the reliability of trading during the high turnover season,” says Richard Phillips, joint CEO Cash Connect Management Solutions.

While our Retail Sector is bracing itself for a continued upward spiral of business crime, here are a few guidelines for business owners to help lower their risk:

  • Make sure your cash vault or safe is robust and conforms to a level of categorisation that offers as much protection as possible against the use of plastic explosives.
  • The cash vault should be placed in a secure back room with strict access control and not where it is visible or accessible to customers.  The latest trend with armed robberies is that criminals no longer just go for the cash in the tills or on the shop floor; they now head straight to the cash vaults.
  • CCTV cameras are an advantage in a retail environment, but the quality of the system is of utmost importance if it is to create deterrence and provide valuable evidence for police investigation and conviction.  Regularly check on the quality of your CCTV footage and make sure that footage is backed up and records activity at entrances.
  • Ensure that your CCTV operating device is stored securely – this reduces the opportunity for damaging the device during a burglary or robbery and removing all evidence for later investigation.
  • The store can become vulnerable during the collection of cash, but the combination of the above suggested precautions go a long way to mitigating this risk. In many cases retailers even go as far as closing their stores for the brief (under 3 minutes) collection period.  The impact on trading remains minimal, while the safety of staff and customers is treated with care and importance.
  • Test your alarm system on a regular basis and ensure that your service is linked to a reputable and reliable armed response company. Motion detection in the ceiling should be included more often than not, as burglars sometimes enter the store through the roof.
  • Remember that most attacks occur with some form of insider participation. The more effective the technology and procedure used to manage the cash, the greater the deterrent. Ultimately, it is far better for criminals to become aware of the level of difficulty during the planning stage, as this will lead to them moving on to softer, easier targets.

The reality however is that many business owners still make use of manual banking and DIY cash counting methods.  While trying to manage the risk associated with these practices is difficult and undesirable, security professionals offer some guidelines worth considering:

  • Avoid paying wages in cash and make electronic transfers instead.   
  • The process of manually banking deposits should be kept as confidential as possible.
  • Alternate the days and times when you do your manual cash deposits at the bank and avoid openly displaying cash being deposited at an ATM or teller. 
  • Always avoid carrying money bags or briefcases when approaching an ATM or when standing in a bank queue.
  • Change your banking pattern by alternating between bank branches and/or ATMs so your banking routine is not easily recognisable.

Organised crime has a direct impact on our Retail Industry and our economy. As socio-economic factors continue to deteriorate, cash-related crime will continue to increase. “It’s therefore vital that business owners educate themselves on how to reduce their risk of an armed robbery, dramatically improve efficiencies and reduce the cost of cash,” says Phillips.

Pioneering the drive to create a secure and efficient retail trading environment, as well as introducing multiple and varied payment solutions, Cash Connect has been progressive in reducing business crime since 2006, improving efficiencies and reducing the overall cost of cash deposits. 

Offering more than just a tin box to safeguard your hard-earned money, Cash Connect provides an all-inclusive, value guaranteed, robust automated cash management solution.  With its technology, processes and leading edge service, Cash Connect is making the business life easier and safer.

For more information on its holistic, modern approach to cash management solutions, please visit:

About Cash Connect

Cash Connect Management Solutions offers an end-to-end cash management solution that encompasses cash in transit logistics and cash processing. Established in 2006, Cash Connect’s specialist solutions for retailers remove risk and maximise cash flow through swift settlements.

Cash Connect is one of the largest suppliers of cash to the banking system and boasts close on R40 Billion a year that it manages on behalf of its diversified client base across the country. It is an approved service provider to blue-chip companies such as Spar Group, Shell, Engen, Pick ‘n Pay and OK to name but a few.

The executive management team - led by joint CEOs Richard Phillips and Steven Heilbron - has an unrivalled pool of specialised cash logistics, security and banking experience.  The board of directors is chaired by Ivan Epstein, CEO of the Sage Group AAMEA (Africa, Australia, Middle East and Asia).  Cash Connect is a private company, with Old Mutual’s specialist fund, Futuregrowth Asset Management, as its largest institutional shareholder.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Cash Connect believes that businesses deserve to trade in a safe environment, allowing retailers to do business efficiently and securely.

Idea Engineers on behalf of Sumay Herbst: Cash Connect
Tel: +27 11 010 4300 / 083 286 2799

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