Midrand: There has been a slight decrease in associated robberies – robberies of bank client carrying large amounts of cash – in the country, with a significant decline in this type of crime recorded in Gauteng.
This is according to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC), who released figures for these crimes on Tuesday.
Gauteng, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape account for most of the robberies of bank customers carrying large sums of cash. Bank customers have lost millions in these robberies.
A total of 717 such incidents have taken place from January to August 2012, a drop from the 793 in the same period in 2011.
Although Gauteng recorded the most associated robberies, there was 38% decline in these robberies in the province 2012.
“The increasing trend of robberies of bank customers carrying large sums of cash is a concern to banks. Undoubtedly these attacks are perpetrated by organised groupings.
“We are appealing to bank customers to refrain from carrying large sums of cash to minimise their exposure to the risk of these attacks,” SABRIC CEO Kalyani Pillay said.
Despite the perception that bank staff provided information to criminals on clients that have large sums of cash on them, this was not necessarily the case, she added.
Organised groups have been identified as the ones responsible for such robberies. These groups have a designated spotter who looks out for people making cash withdrawals or deposits.
That information is then passed on to other members of the groups, usually in the vicinity of the bank, who then robs the person at the bank, on their way to their homes and businesses or at their homes and businesses.
It was not just business owners that were the targets of these crimes, she added.
To avoid becoming a victim of these robberies, Pillay advised the public to consider alternate banking methods, such as internet and cellphone banking, among others.
Gauteng Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Mwzandile Petros, attributed the successes in Gauteng to visible policing, which was deterring crime, and the arrests of criminals, which ensured they could not commit such crimes.
The decrease was “not falling from the sky” but an investment made over time that was now yielding results, he added.
The province would work hard to lower the number of these robberies even further, he promised.
National Police Commissioner General Riah Phiyega applauded the partnership between and SABRIC and police, saying the results were evidence of its success.
“We celebrate this partnership because as police we can never ever do it [fight crime] alone. We can only do it if we work very closely with our partners,” she said.
While Phiyega applauded the successes in reducing these robberies, she noted that more work needed to be done.
“It is important for us as a country to recognise that much, much more needs to be done. Crime evolves…it is getting more sophisticated day by day. We cannot continue to use only old approaches to deal with new emerging trends,” she said.
Police would continue to evaluate and strengthen their own efforts to reduce these crimes further, Phiyega added.