Over the last few weeks, there has been a concerning increase in the number of armed business and residential robberies in the Gauteng area. In the month of March Fidelity ADT confirms that there have been 22 armed robberies. Some of the areas worst hit include Benoni, Alberton, Glen Marais and Bokburg
On the 25th and 26th of March alone there were 11 reported incidents across various areas in Gauteng, namely Alrode, Buccleuh, Elandsfontein, Honeydew, Lombardy east, Rosebank, Montana Park – Pretoria and Sunninghill. Seven out of the 11 incidents were business robberies.
Charnel Hattingh: Head of Marketing & Communications for Fidelity ADT says much of the crime is happening during the day. Business robberies have definitely 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 a number of 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.
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.
“On the residential side we can see that in a number of instances people have forgotten to arm their systems or put on their outside beams. There is also a worrying trend of gates being left open. That is a problem as it is a home owner’s first line of defence. We find that criminals find a weak point in the perimeter security where the electric fence is not working or the gates are not locked and this makes homeowners particularly vulnerable.
“We are living in a tough economy and crime is definitely on the increase. With the country preparing to let down their guard and relax ahead of the Easter long weekend we wanted to remind residents and business owners to remain vigilant. You can let down your hair but definitely not your security,” concludes Hattingh.