Pretoria sees rise in cash heists

Police have described the spike in cash-in-transit heists in Pretoria in recent weeks as “worrisome”.

In 2017 there were 378 cash-in-transit robberies, compared to 268 in 2016 – a 41 percent increase.

“This translated to more than one robbery a day,” said police spokesperson Captain Dave Miller.

Anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee said the robberies were also increasingly violent.

“When we report that a particular crime has more than quadrupled since the previous year, it is time to sit up and take notice,” said Abramjee.

“In the majority of heists, commercial explosives are used and the robbers are heavily armed with AK47s, and R4 and R5 rifles, and they open fire easily.

Gangs of up to 20 attack in broad daylight, using stolen or hijacked vehicles, with military precision.

It means criminals have figured out how to beat the system. They know this is a low-risk, high reward crime.”

Miller warned the public to avoid active crime scenes.

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“Members of the public are requested not to approach active crime scenes – even after the suspects have fled,” he said.

“These are extremely dangerous scenes and the possibility of unexploded devices left by the suspects is extremely high.

Entering the crime scene can also easily destroy evidence that could help investigators.”

Miller said anyone who had video footage of such crimes was requested to make it available to the investigators instead of posting it all over social media.

“Social media could have a role but could also jeopardise a successful prosecution.”

Cash collector SBV CEO Mark Barret said fighting cash-in-transit crimes did not only lie in the hands of the police.

“Organised crime syndicates access critical information by either bribing or intimidating employees by threatening their safety as well as that of their families,” he said.

Barret said the security industry must join forces with the police, banks and the general public to overcome such heists.

“Urgent intervention is needed.”

VIDEO:

An SBV security on guard Photo: Supplied

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  AUTHOR
Liam Ngobeni

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