04/07/2018 11:43 BST | Updated 04/07/2018 13:04 BST

Cash-In-Transit Heists Have Doubled In A Year

CIT heists are now the fastest-growing form of aggravated robbery in South Africa, an industry fundi says.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
A cash-in-transit worker walks past armoured vehicles parked on the street in Johannesburg during a nationwide protest on June 12 2018, following a spate of deadly heists this year.

Cash-in-transit heists have been increasing in the past couple of months in South Africa. The latest incidents were reported on Tuesday evening. Two G4S trucks were reportedly hit on the N8 between Bloemfontein and Botshabelo in Free State, while a Fidelity truck was targeted and bombed on the N2 close to Mthatha in Eastern Cape.

Axis Communications country manager Roy Alves says cash-in-transit heists have "hit top gear to become one of the quickest-growing forms of aggravated robbery".

"According to the Banking Risk Information Centre [Sabric], double the [number] of CIT heists have occurred year-on-year, between January and May of 2018," the surveillance expert said.

Alves said it was difficult to find the culprits in many instances, because they constantly replace their number plates.

"CIT syndicates get around this by stealing cars and replacing the number plates with non-hot plates that will not raise any flags," he said.

Security measures

Alves said there were a few ways security could be improved.

1. On-board cameras with recorders

Alves said earlier notification about potential incidents would improve response times.

"These cameras are able to detect changes in sound. For example, if there is a drastic change in audio, the camera would notify the control room of the security firm. This change in audio could be screaming or gun shots, or the CIT vehicle skidding on the road," he said.

2. Licence plate recognition (LPR)

Licence plate recognition (LPR) is used in combatting various crimes, as it enables the police and security agencies to read licence plate numbers and determine if a vehicle has been stolen or blacklisted.

3. New technology

There is now technology that surpasses LPR. Whereas before, cameras would read only the licence plate to determine if a car had been stolen, now they are able to associate the number plate with the type and colour of the vehicle.

"This means that if it reads a plate that should be on a red VW Golf GTI, for example, on a black BMW M2, an alarm will still be raised automatically. This technology is already being piloted in many parts of the world, and would most definitely revolutionise the current way in which LPR is handled, as the cameras now boast the processing and analytics capabilities at the edge."