For robbers the festive season is indeed the time to be jolly. Like most of us, criminals love the festive season, but they love this time of year because the holiday season represents a grand opportunity for organised armed robberies. “Unfortunately it’s our retail sector that suffers the most over the festive period, with over 51 robberies each day in South Africa and more than 70 000 burglaries recorded by the Police in the 2013/2014 year, the festive season poses a greater risk for retailers,” says Richard Phillips, joint CEO of Cash Connect Management Solutions.
Phillips says that during this time, there is a significant increase in the flow of cash as the excitement and urgency of December brings with it the promise of year-end bonuses, preparations for festive season celebrations and annual journeys home or on holiday. The increased circulation of cash increases the potential for bank robberies, cash in transit heists, ATM bombings and violent armed robberies at retail stores, shopping malls and fuel stations.
In addition, syndicates and gangs conducting armed robberies have developed sophisticated and organised methods with which they execute their attacks. Hit and run type armed robberies not only threatens the safety of the customers and staff, but it is common knowledge that in most cases the target store experiences a significant drop in traditional sales for as much as six months after an attack of this kind. Despite the significant increase in attacks on retail stores in shopping centres, the season for shopping is such that most retailers are bound to introduce extended trading hours during this period and subsequently be even more at risk.
“During the festive season, business and retail owners, holiday-makers and, for that matter, even those staying at home, should remain vigilant. Now is a good time to discuss the neighbourhood crime prevention contingencies with the local police, private security companies and community policing forums. Only through greater community and business involvement can stronger local support structures be built. While policing might be intensified over this period, the principle of increased interaction amongst everyone should be an ongoing feature of our communities with the common objective to combat crime,” adds Phillips.
For businesses especially, now is the time to realise that traditional cash management processes directly contribute to increasing the risk of armed robbery.
Phillips says that South African business owners need to rethink the ways they manage and safeguard their hard-earned cash – they are making themselves vulnerable, and simply because they don’t employ safer cash management solutions. With more than 90% of business robberies taking place with insider participation, businesses and retail stores are easy targets.
“With the latest technological advances made in the cash management systems industry, cash handling for businesses over the festive season no longer needs to be fraught with danger. Acting as the middle man between a business and its bank, we now have cash management solutions that remove the cash risk and facilitate fast and efficient settlement directly into the bank account increasing cash flow and minimising the opportunity for external or internal theft. It’s up to business owners to take advantage of this technology,” says Phillips.
Business owners need to understand, and especially over the upcoming festive season, the police and security companies can only do so much. This is the time to act; the technology is there; all we need to do is make use of it.
With this said, it is a reality that many business owners still prefer to use traditional or manual cash management solutions. Although Cash Connect does not recommend this, Phillips suggests the following tips for business owners to avoid being a victim of cash robberies this festive season:
- Make use of electronic transfers to avoid paying wages in cash to your staff.
- Avoid broadcasting when cash will manually be taken to the bank for deposit.
- Alternate the days and times on which you deposit cash.
- Do not openly display the money you are depositing while you are standing at an ATM or in a bank queue.
- Avoid carrying money bags or briefcases when approaching an ATM or when standing in a bank queue.
- Alternate between bank branches or ATMs so your banking pattern is not easily recognisable.
- Refrain from driving to the bank in your company branded vehicle on a typical ‘pay day’.
- Take the time to investigate converting to an automated cash management service and take away all of the risk inherent in the above.
About Cash Connect
Cash Connect Management Solutions offers an end-to-end cash management solution that encompasses cash in transit logistics, security management and cash processing. Established in 2006, Cash Connect’s specialist solutions for retailers remove risk and maximise cash flow through swift settlements. The company services more than 1,200 retailers processing over R2 billion a month and has been endorsed as the 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.
Idea Engineers on behalf of Sumay Dippenaar: Cash Connect
Tel: +27 11 010 4300 / 083 286 2799
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