The police have failed to reduce the number of cash-in-transit (CIT) heists, with the latest statistics showing that the robberies increased by a staggering 56.6% in the year under review.
In the 2016/2017 financial year, 152 CIT robberies were recorded in the country.
The number increased sharply by 86 cases to 238 robberies in the 2017/2018 financial year, head of police crime research and statistics Norman Sekhukhune said yesterday.
“This crime was at its lowest peak in the 2014/2015 financial year (with 119 cases). Most of the CITs happened on the road, in business areas, with 40 in spaza shops or malls.
“Regarding the type of cash-in-transit robbery versus the instrument used: on those that the armoured car was on the road, explosives were used in 55 incidents, while firearms were used in 29 cases.
"In most of the incidents, the security personnel's firearms were taken,” Sekhukhune said.
According to the stats, 23 security guards and two bystanders were killed, with seven killed in Gauteng and five in KwaZulu-Natal.
The stats show that at least 30 of the robberies occurred between 8am and 11.59am on a Monday.
In July, police said that since the implementation of a nationwide stabilisation operation on June 4, more than 40 suspects involved in these crime categories had been arrested.
Four of these suspects rank among the top 20 identified suspects wanted for similar crimes, and a substantial amount of money as well as arms and ammunition have been recovered.
South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) chief executive Kalyani Pillay said CIT robberies had increased sharply but added that the situation had changed.
“We definitely did see a significant increase in cash-in-transit incidents from last year - and particularly this year, it was very high - but the situation has changed. The stats were up to March.
“In the last two to three months, we have already seen a reduction in those incidents. The police have been more robust in their plans.
"There have been very close relationship between the South African Police Service, the cash-in-transit sector and Sabric,” Pillay noted.
She said new crime-curbing technologies introduced had also contributed to the decrease, adding that the cash van companies had to constantly review their anti-crime strategies.@smashaba