The South African Police Service’s special investigative unit The Hawks has published a report on cash in transit heists in South Africa, revealing that over R1 billion has been stolen by criminals between 2008 and 2016.
The report, which was published in full by News24, shows that the highest reported losses were recorded in 2014, when R214 million was stolen in heists, followed by R188 million stolen in 2016.
A total of R1,071,430,410 was lost to the illicit market for the period under review, the Hawks said.
Overall, 1,949 incidents were recorded over the 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 2,900 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.
Speaking to News24 on the data, the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) said that it was irresponsible to disclose the losses, because it would only stimulate criminals to continue these types of crimes.
Sabric has urged government, and particularly law enforcement authorities, to put special interventions in place to end the current scourge of violent cash-in-transit attacks proliferating across the country – including treating them as priority crimes.