Business robbery down


The Consumer Goods Council (CGC) says the number of armed robberies targeting retailers have dropped substantially. The CGC says armed robberies have fallen to an average 14 per month since November last year, when the average number of robberies per month was 25.

The number of armed robbery incidents reported by members decreased by 44% in the month of April to 14 from 25 in the same month last year, the CGC added. “The financial losses suffered relating to these robberies in April amounted to R391,993, a significant decrease of 89 percent when compared to the R3.53 million in April of 2009,” the CGC said in a statement.

According to Michael Broughton, director of the CGC’s Crime Prevention Programme, there was a lot of publicity given to armed robberies last August with the notion that retail crime statistics were on an upward trend. “Our view at the time was that it was a spike rather than an upward trend, and this has been borne out by the year end statistics.”

In spite of the rise in crime during June, July and August retail crime statistics had remained steady since December and were continuing to decrease gradually, the South African Press Association reported. When comparing the months March and April 2010, there were nine robberies in March that took place at shopping centres with a financial loss of R897 744 and 10 in April with a loss of only R317 416, SAPA added.

Robberies which were targeted at stand alone shops in March were seven with a financial loss of R138 638 and only four in April with a loss of R74 532. “We have focused on a range of measures to make our members’ stores less attractive to robbers. This has paid dividends in that not only have the number of incidents decreased, but the average financial loss per incident has dropped dramatically – in some instances five or six robbers got away with less than R1000,” Broughton said.

However, burglary incidents reported increased during the month of April. “Burglary incidents reported by CGC members increased to 37 in April 2010 from 27 the same month last year.” Financially this resulted in losses amounting to R1.9 million from R1.1 million last year, an average of R50 954 loss per burglary. “Crime prevention is everyone’s responsibility and our members have recognised this, and have come together to combat the scourge,” Broughton said.

Business Report newspaper quoted Massmart’s channel executive Graham Rebello as saying the wholesale giant had experienced a decline of 67 percent in the number of robbery incidents in the year to April. “Last year we had three incidents amounting to losses of R1.9 million for the group but this year, we’ve only had one attempted robbery,” he said. According to Rebello, the reason for the decline is primarily because of an increased security focus at store level. Massmart owns the Makro, Game and Dion brands.

Pick n Pay super- and hypermarket chain spokeswoman Tamra Veley said the retailer had experienced a significant decrease in the number of robberies in the past year and concurred with the CGCSA that this was largely because of the improved response of the police and the number of arrests made.