10 December 2021

Spike in Business Robberies

Submitted by Jacqui

In the last month there has been an alarming spike in the number of business robberies in Johannesburg. The hardest hit areas are the East Rand and in the South of Johannesburg with 18 incidents reported in these areas over the last month. Most hard hit have been retail stores like jewellery, sports and general clothing stores. Business owners are advised to tighten up their security. Even the best planned emergency plan cannot prevent an unexpected retail robbery from occurring, and as unemployment numbers rise, this trend could escalate.

Charnel Hattingh, Head of Marketing and Communications at Fidelity ADT, says in a recent business robbery case the Fidelity Specialised Intervention Unit was called out to check the whereabouts of a truck loaded with stolen stock taken in an armed robbery in Kyalami at the beginning of December. The truck located in Erasmia, Centurion in an industrial business area. On further investigation, it was found the truck was due to deliver the stolen stock on a dummy invoice. The business owner from Kyalami was able to identify the stock as his stolen stock.

The Erasmia SAPS were called to scene and the driver of the truck was handed over. Hattingh says he was subsequently charged with possession of stolen goods and some of the stock was returned to the owner while the truck was retained for evidence. The balance of the stock was later found in three warehouses in the Jet Park area.

She says business robberies have increased over the last month. “One of the problems now is also the mandatory wearing of a face mask in public. Criminals are using this to avoid detection and it has made identifying perpetrators just that much more difficult,” she says.

Business owners need to be aware of this and be especially vigilant. There are also several routine measures businesses can take to reduce the chance of a security breach at their premises.

She advises business owners to conduct regular security upgrades and to assess their risk exposure frequently to ensure that they have sufficient insurance cover in the unfortunate event that they become victims of crime.

Opening and closing times are particularly vulnerable due to low staffing and large amounts of cash on hand.

She offers the following safety tips:

  • At opening time inspect the business for forcible entry before entering. One employee should inspect the premises before the rest enter
    • At closing send an employee to inspect the exits and parking area for any possible suspects or suspicious vehicles lurking around
    • Avoid having large amounts of cash on the premises
    • Alternate your banking or cash collection routine regularly
    • Avoid fixtures or signage that obstruct views from and of cash register points
    • Use mirrors and cameras to cover all blind spots in the store and at exit points
    • Invest in good lighting both inside and outside your stores
    • Check your alarm system regularly with your service provider and train your staff on emergency panic procedures. It is always best to get a professional in to assess your security solutions and associated risk. These experts will be able to identify any vulnerable areas and offer the best solutions
    • Review your current alarm systems and upgrade when required, as this is not a revenue line the maintenance thereof is mostly neglected
    • Increase the stores headcount during opening and closing times as groups are a definite deterrent
    • Stagger lunch rosters to ensure that the store is manned sufficiently during these times
    • Do regular credit and criminal checks on all employees, even your regular casual staff

“Don’t be caught off-guard! Stay alert, be proactive and always remain calm in any hostile situation,” concludes Hattingh.

ENDS/
Compiled on behalf of Fidelity ADT by Cathy Findley Public Relations, for media queries contact Jacqui Moloi at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 071 764 8233