After a lockdown lull, business robberies spike again
Durban - AFTER lower levels of crime during the lockdown, the easing of regulations has seen a return of criminal activity and a spike in business-related robberies from the end of last month.
In Verulam, a man was shot during the robbery of a newly opened supermarket in Everest Heights, where two of the suspects were apprehended. A day later four suspects opened fire on a security guard during a robbery at a Debonairs in Verulam.
On the same weekend, masked gunmen stormed into the Jet store at the Watercrest Mall where they made off with goods and money.
Last Tuesday evening, four suspects made off with merchandise from the Vodacom store at Gateway.
Reaction Unit SA (Rusa) spokesperson Prem Balram noted the frequency of the robberies as well as the organisation of the suspects.
“Over the course of the past few weeks we have responded to business-related robberies where groups of usually four or five men stormed business premises.
"The most notable one was where a man died following a robbery at a supermarket.
“Suspects take advantage of businesses that are isolated as there will be a delayed response from security or police. In cases of mall robberies they have an advantage as mall security can't risk a gun fight with numbers of people on the premises so they take advantage of that in orchestrating their plans.”
According to Institute of Security Studies researcher Dr Johan Burger, business robberies have been on the rise in the country since 2010/11.
“In 2010/11, 14637 business robberies were reported and there has been a year-on-year increase which has coincided with the country’s economic downturn,” Burger said.
Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Palesa Phili said that the safety and security of businesses should be a shared priority for government and the business community.