Mall attacks and jewellery store robberies seem to be the re-emerging crime trend in Cape Town this year. While the city is no stranger to armed robberies, cash-in-transit heists, burglaries and all sorts of violent crime, there seems to be a renewed focus on targeting jewellery stores in the Mother City. With the latest attack on a jewellery store in Blue Route Mall on Monday this week, there have now been five mall robberies in Cape Town since 31 July.
CEO of Business Against Crime Western Cape, Andrew Anthony says that the most effective strategy businesses can adopt is to fight crime in a collective manner while securing their assets and being aware of their environments.
“Unfortunately, we’ve become accustomed to robberies in the Western Cape,” said Anthony.
“However, not only jewellery stores are targeted…We’ve seen liquor stores, cellphone stores and malls targeted as well – but I believe that the industry [the jewellery industry] has invested more in protecting their assets.
I also believe other institutions and industries are investing more in protecting their assets. We note that criminals always have the advantage of the element of surprise. The only thing business can do is to fight the scourge of crime in a collective manner.”
“The key is to be aware of your surroundings,” he added.
“Look for new faces, strange faces and strange behaviours of individuals.”
Anthony explained that his organisation has identified changes in crime trends and that they are aware of the “migration” criminals make in terms of switching from one crime type to another. He says that jewellery stores offer a unique incentive to robbers as the return criminals make after jewellery store robberies are much greater in comparison with other stores.
“Way back, criminals specialised in a specific type of crime,” said Anthony.
“But, in the last few years, we noticed the same criminals migrate from one crime type to another, looking for new opportunities…cash heists have decreased over the past few months and they [criminals] continue to change their modus operandi.”
“Jewellery stores are high value and the return for the criminal is much higher – but it’s definitely riskier.”
Anthony then reiterated the need for business owners and employees to remain vigilant and to identify potential “scouts”.
“Criminals have to scout. Be aware of guys who you don’t know who are hanging around your shop and take note of cars that park in your vicinity with drivers or passengers who don’t exit the car. These are indicators of potential robbers.”
According to Business Against Crime Western Cape, businesses in the province are now adopting a more proactive strategy and are assisting one another in crime prevention, intelligence sharing and crime fighting. Local businesses are looking at best practices and will continue to find ways of eliminating opportunistic criminal activity.