Cash-in-transit heists up 56%, carjackings near 17 000 cases

Cash-in-transit heists increased by 56% the past financial year as part of a growing three-year trend, the latest crime statistics presented to Parliament revealed.

Major General Norman Sekhukhune, head of police crime research and statistics, told MPs on Tuesday that "unfortunately, since 2014/15 we had three consecutive years whereby this crime has been increasing".

Cases of cash-in-transit heists last peeked in 2008/09, and the lowest point was reached in 2014/15.

READ: Top 10 areas you are most likely to be a target of violent crime in SA

According to the statistics, there were 137 cash-in-transit heists in 2015/16, 152 in 2016/17 and 238 in 2017/18, a 56.6% increase over the last financial year.

Most of these heists occurred on Mondays between 08:00 and 16:00.

Two bystanders and 23 security guards were killed during the heists.

Gauteng, with 80, had the most cases of cash-in-transit heists while North West saw the highest year-on-year increase of 475% with 23 cases in 2017/18, compared to the previous year's four.

In the Western Cape, the prevalence of cash-in-transit heists decreased from 35 cases in 2016/17 to 26.

Increase in truck hijacking

Most cash-in-transit heists happened on the road (84) followed by business areas (66), malls (40) and convenience shops at garages (21). In most instances, security guards' weapons were taken from them.

Carjackings saw a decrease in 2017/18 from 2016/17, with 16 325 cases, down 2.3% from the previous year's 16 717 cases.

Almost half of these cases in the past year occurred in Gauteng.

Nyanga, in the Western Cape, had the highest number of carjacking cases, followed by Jeppe, Booysens, Honeydew and Moffatview, all in Gauteng.

Truck hijackings, however, saw a 1.6% increase in the past year, with 1 202 cases in 2017/18 compared to the 1 183 cases the year before.

SEE: More than 17 000 hijackings in SA - here's how you can protect yourself on our roads

More than half of these cases were in Gauteng.

According to Police Minister Bheki Cele, the tide has turned against cash-in-transit robbers, with many of the alleged masterminds arrested in recent months.

"Crime Intelligence is really working," he said at a press conference after the meeting with the committee. "That is one thing that has helped us to reduce cash heists."

He expressed his shock that some of these suspects were out on bail when the heists were committed.

Hawks head advocate Godfrey Lebeya said they would oppose bail for the suspects.

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