Govt wants to reduce high rate of business robberies

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cape Town - Government says it is working towards consolidating its partnership with business to reverse the high rate of business robberies.

"This partnership seeks to jointly improve our efforts through enhanced police and business crime prevention measures and improving alignment between the business sector and government," Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Tuesday, releasing the South African Police Services (SAPS) crime statistics for the period 1 April 2008 - 31 March 2009.

"A crucial activity in this alignment process is greater information-sharing," the minister said.

Crime statistics released on Tuesday indicate that the number of reported business robbery cases increased by 41.5 percent when compared to the previous year.

Aggravated robberies saw an increase in three areas, namely business robberies, house robberies and hijackings. However, of the three, the highest increase was recorded in business robberies.

The minister said government has over the last few months been engaging the business community to assess ways to work together to reduce these robberies.

"We are confident that as we move forward with this partnership which focuses on a government-directed and led strategy supported by business, the negative trends we are witnessing currently will be reversed."

Indications are that the small business sector is most affected. It accounts for almost two thirds of all business robberies.

Formal and big business remain some what slightly affected.

"We are aware that certain factors make small businesses particularly vulnerable to such robberies. We need also to look at what technological measures can be introduced to assist in reducing the risks incurred by small business," the minister said.

Already joint SAPS/business initiatives are being piloted in Johannesburg Central and Tembisa and these focus specifically on robberies at small businesses. Plans are that the lessons learnt from these two pilots will be rolled out to other areas of the country.