South Africa’s cash-in-transit heist crisis is worse than you think

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) has called into question the South African Police Service’s latest crime stats, saying that things are worse than they appear.

Speaking to Talk Radio 702 about cash-in-transit heists specifically, Sabric said the SAPS got the numbers wrong.

The SAPS reported that there was a 57% increase in cash-in-transit heists in South Africa between April 2017 and March 2018, with 238 cases being reported, versus 152 cases previously.

However Sabric says its numbers point to 385 heists taking place over the period – which would make it a 153% jump.

The numbers also do not align with a presentation made by the Hawks earlier in the month, where it said that over 1,900 cash in transit heists were recorded between 2008 and 2016. SAPS data puts the number just over 1,750.

To date (2018), Sabric said that over 2,900 heists have taken place, while SAPS data shows around 2,150.

Despite the discrepancy in the numbers, Sabric said that the overall trend being shown – that cash-in-transit heists are increasing – is still very true.

Various groups and parties have called for immediate action on the crimes, suggesting that the SAPS create a special unit to take down the criminal groups that run them.

It is believed that most heists are run by a few organised crime groups that operate nationally under a so-called “mastermind” that oversees them with the help of insider information.

According to the Hawks, over R1 billion has been stolen in heists over the last decade. Sabric, however, believes that revealing this data is irresponsible, as it would encourage criminals to keep stealing.

The SAPS data published on Tuesday (11 September) showed an overall decline in the number of community reported crimes in 2018, along with a higher detection of crimes as a result of police activity.

Other experts have also claimed that the SAPS’ numbers are off – particularly when it comes to crimes like murder and attempted murder.

Read: SAPS reveals shocking cash-in-transit heist numbers – and when they most occur

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South Africa’s cash-in-transit heist crisis is worse than you think