Business owners across the Garden Route should view the recent police crime statistics as a reminder of the continuing need for vigilance.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) announced (in September) that commercial crime increased by more than 14% in a year, with 83 823 cases reported. These crimes included fraud, embezzlement, corruption, forgery, money laundering and certain cybercrimes.
“It does seem that business-related crimes involving physical force declined for the year being reported on by the police, but that does not mean that business owners can now relax and drop their guard,” says Pieter Meiring, Garden Route Branch Manager at Fidelity ADT.
He says there is a continuing need for preventative measures to deter any criminal activity.
“I would suggest you start by looking at a daily schedule of events at your business, to determine any periods at which you are particularly vulnerable. This could be for example when new stock is delivered, when your cashiers are cashing up for the day, or when your shop is particularly busy. Do you think you are adequately protected for these periods,” asks Meiring.
Perimeter security measures is also a valuable and important area to focus on, he adds.
“We have responded to a number of incidents already where culprits gained access to shops and businesses by lifting roof tiles and entering through the ceiling. Installing motion detection systems in your roof, for example, would be a suggestion. You should also make sure that all access points are controlled and monitored, so that your security company can immediately respond if anyone tries to rob you after you have closed up for the day.”
Smaller business owners, Meiring adds, could also combine their resources and find ways to cooperate with each other to increase safety. “Perhaps you can get together and install a CCTV system that looks after the small shops in your suburb.”
Meiring says his company recommends an urgent security assessment of any measures that might have been installed.
“Especially with the busy festive season that is coming closer, it would be ideal to get a professional and accredited service provider to come and test your security measures as soon as possible. Don’t leave it for the last minute,” he says.