South African banks faced a tumultuous year in 2022, with varying trends in associated robberies, ATM attacks, branch burglaries, and bank robberies, according to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre’s (Sabric) Annual Crime Stats.
The banking sector recorded a 34% drop in associated robbery incidents and a 38% decrease in related client losses.
Enhanced branch security, making it harder for criminals to spot clients withdrawing large sums, played a significant role.
However, many victims only report to their banks, bypassing the South African Police Service, complicating accurate incident tracking. Branch before deposit incidents saw a 39% decline, largely due to arrests in KwaZulu-Natal.
Gauteng led in associated robbery incidents at 42%, followed by North West at 11%.
ATM attacks surged by 13% in 2022, causing a 59% spike in losses. Gauteng was the epicentre, with a 97% increase in incidents. Explosive ATM attacks rose by 23%, with a 57% success rate in breaching the safe.
Despite dye-stain activation, criminals often successfully removed stains from cash. Conversely, angle-grinder ATM attacks dropped by 36%.
These attacks, requiring large groups and coordination, often targeted shopping centres. Load shedding periods saw a rise in such attacks, with criminals exploiting signal losses.
Bank branch burglaries increased by 17% in 2022, with cash losses sky-rocketing by 366%. The Eastern Cape reported the highest incidents (15), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (13).
State Owned Banking Institutions saw a 7% rise in burglaries, but a 47% drop in cash losses. The shift from cash to card payments for Sassa grants played a role in this trend.
The Western Cape reported the highest incidents at 46%. Robberies at State Owned Banking Institutions decreased by 27%, with a 34% drop in losses.
The shift from cash payments of Sassa grants to card payments and a fading perception of high cash holdings contributed to this decline.