Industry Pleased by Decrease in Associated Robberies

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) on behalf of banking industry has reported a decrease in associated robberies for 2015. Commenting on the significant decrease, Kalyani Pillay, SABRIC CEO said, “the decrease is attributed to the collective collaborative efforts of not only the banking industry and law enforcement, but of the bank clients who have decided to heed the call to not carry large sums of cash and use alternate methods of banking.”

Last year the banking industry not only recorded a 30% increase in associated robberies, but sadly saw some bank clients lose their live as they were killed on their way from the bank after withdrawing large amounts of cash. The 23% decrease we currently see, is the largest recorded since 2006.

“This demonstrates, that working together with strategic partners such as the South African Police Services, Crime Line, the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigations; as well as the public is having the desired effect.

The biggest decrease has been recorded in the Eastern and Western Cape Provinces where associated robberies showed a 40% and 46%decrease respectively. However, the Mpumalanga Province showed an unfortunate 29% increase in associated robberies, which is a concern to the banking industry. Mitigation efforts between law enforcement and the industry are being implemented to address this scourge.

We embarked on an intervention and stabilization programme in the Witbank area in Mpumalanga in partnership with the South African Police Service since April this year.

This is due to the increase in bank related crimes that we witnessed in that area and we can confidently say that the interventions are beginning to show a decline in these crimes as arrests are being effected.

We will shortly be launching the normalization plan in Witbank as part of our ongoing interventions.

The SAPS in partnership with SABRIC, will be launching similar programmes of stabilization in other identified areas around the country, which will be announced in due course.

One of the deliverables of this partnership is to compile a list of the Top 100 suspects wanted for banking crimes as well as the localized Top 20 most wanted suspects per identified hotspot. These lists will be made public in due course as well.

Spotting’ (where criminals observe bank clients while transacting inside the bank and then follow them home or to their business after withdrawing large amounts of cash”) and other modus operandi like using “the money bomb scam” are also used by unscrupulous persons. Regarding the latter modus operandi, the perpetrator drops a roll of paper, covered with an official bank note to attract the attention of an identified target. The target in most cases is a bank client who has just made a large cash withdrawal from the bank. Once the client attempts to pick up the cash, a co-perpetrator would also claim the cash and suggest they share it. The sharing of the cash usually occurs at a location away from the bank where the bank clients is then robbed of the cash that he or she just withdrew.

Alternatively, a co-perpetrator impersonating a police official would confront both client and accomplice, claiming to investigate the circumstances surrounding the cash.

Both the client and accomplice would be placed under arrest and informed that they would be taken to a police station. However, they are all taken to a secluded area where the bank client is robbed of the cash withdrawn from the bank.

Modus operandi like the ones mentioned above reiterate the importance of awareness campaigns such as the Carrying Cash Safely campaign to warn bank customers of the dangers associated with carrying large amounts of cash. “To avoid these robberies and the risk of loss of life, we urge bank clients to rather consider using alternative banking methods, such as internet and cellphone banking” said Pillay.

Below are some tips for bank clients to avoid being a victim of associated robberies

  • If you need to pay accounts, consider options that are lower risk instead of withdrawing large sums of cash. Apply the following TIPS to avoid being a victim: Carry as little cash as possible.
  • Consider the convenience of paying your accounts electronically (consult your bank to find out about other available options).
  • Consider making use of cell phone banking or internet transfers or ATMS to do your banking.

For more tips on how consumers can avoid falling victim to associated robberies please log on to

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