The South African Police Service has released the latest crime stats for 2017/18, noting an alarming rise in cash-in-transit heists taking place in the country.
According to the SAPS’ data, there was 57% rise in cash-in-transit crimes between April 2017 and March 2018, with 238 incidents reported, compared to 152 in the previous year.
The highest number of cases occurred in Gauteng (80) and KwaZulu Natal (30), most of which took place on the roads or in a business area. 23 security guards and 2 bystanders were killed during these incidents.
Police minister Bheki Cele noted that during these crimes, security personnel’s firearms were also typically stolen.
The data shows that Monday mornings and Saturday mornings are the most common times for the cash-in-transit operations to be hit.
A recent presentation published by the SAPS’ special investigative unit The Hawks revealed that over R1 billion has been stolen by criminals between 2008 and 2016.
Over 1,700 incidents were recorded over that period, with ‘cross pavements’ heists the most common (1,163), followed by premises heists (606) and on road heists (180). From 2008 to 2018, over 2,300 incidents have taken place.
According to the Hawks, cash-in-transit robbery networks are highly organised and operate with “military precision”.
They form and dissolve according to the nature of the “mission” they are undertaking, and are normally orchestrated by a “mastermind” or “kingpin”, the group said.
“The criminal grouping involved is most instances act on inside information and plan the heists long in advance. The vehicles used are normally hijacked or stolen.”
The special unit said that circumstantial evidence points to cash-in-transit robbery networks operating nationally, with a few groups responsible for the majority of the crimes throughout South Africa.