Latest business crime stats and tips for your increased safety

A recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) reveals crime is increasing in South Africa.

 

Titled the ‘2014 Global Economic Crime Survey’ it was conducted among 134 respondents from organisations in 17 industry sectors.  

The report outlines how economic crime is a serious concern for South African companies, and 69% of respondents say they have experienced some form of economic crime in the last 24 months. The global average is 37% – an increase of 3% since the last report was released in 2011, compared to a 9% increase in South Africa.

The types of economic crime experienced by South Africans are:

Asset misappropriation 77% (globally 69%);

Procurement fraud 59% (29%);

Bribery and corruption 52% (27%);

Human resources fraud 42% (15%);

Financial-statement fraud 35% (22%);

Cybercrime 26% (24%);

Money-laundering 14% (11%);

Tax fraud 11% (6%); and,

Illegal insider trading 9% (5%).

Other types of crime reported include market fraud involving price fixing (8% vs 5%); intellectual property infringement, including data theft (7% vs 8%); mortgage fraud (4% v 7%); and espionage (3% locally and globally).

According to corruptionwatch.org.za, the fastest-growing economic crime category in South Africa is bribery and corruption, which together with procurement and human resources fraud as well as financial statement fraud, sets local organisations above their global counterparts – and not in a good way. Bribery and corruption has risen from 42% to 59% since the last survey.

Just over half (52%) of South African respondents reported bribery. And with numerous South African companies expanding into Africa and abroad, bribery and corruption may pose a significant threat to them, especially if they do business in the US or UK. This is because offences are often pursued by regulators across borders through far-reaching laws such as the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Bribery Act.

Procurement fraud, another of Corruption Watch’s focus areas, was experienced by 59% of South African respondents during the past 24 months, compared to only 29% of global respondents. Locally, the most vulnerable step in the procurement process is vendor selection, but other areas such as the invitation to bid, drawing up the contract, and the payment process are also targeted.

The PwC survey reports that formal fraud risk management programmes have become the most effective fraud detection method, but that risk assessments are a neglected area of doing business in South Africa.

In addition, 82% of South African respondents (against 62% globally) indicate that their organisations have implemented a formal whistle-blowing system. However, the survey also finds that the effectiveness of whistle-blowing mechanisms has decreased over the years, but it does reveal an increase in the number of crimes detected by accident.

And once the crime has been sniffed out, more South African companies (82% versus 49% globally) hand the case over to law-enforcement agents to deal with internal culprits.

 

The following crime tips have been developed by the SAPS and Business Against Crime South Africa:

1. Cash Management  

Shops should keep the amount of cash on hand to a minimum and there should be highly visible signs that indicate this.

Set a maximum amount of cash that should be available in the tills and try not to exceed this amount.

During busy periods the cash tills needs to be checked regularly to ensure that they have not exceeded their limit.

Remove excess cash from the register/s and secure this cash in a drop safe or secure safe not accessible to the public.

Ensure that banking is done regularly and do not allow large amounts of cash to be kept on the premises.

Do not count money from the cash register on the service counter/s where everyone can see.

Where the shop does not have a dedicated cash oice, prepare cash for banking in a secure part of the store which is not accessible to the

public.

Do banking on a daily basis, to restrict the amount of cash in the tills.

Vary the times of banking.

Do not display that you are on your way to the bank.

2. When using private security services 

The security guards should be rotated.

 Insist that guards are vetted on a regular basis.

Use the services of reputable guarding companies. Ensure that the security company is registered with PSIRA.

3. Controlled entrances

Ensure that the premises are not overcrowded.

Restrict movement at the entrance and exits.

Install the best security you can afford. For example, security gates on entrance to the premises and back doors. Keep these gates locked and fix a door viewer to the gate and an automatic door opener or latch chain.

If you have a firearm make sure it is secured and that you have a safe on the premises. 

Ensure you stay out of reach of this security gate to prevent someone grabbing you through the closed gate.

4. Be alert during opening and closing times

Request to be accompanied by Security staff if available.

Work in pairs to prevent being overpowered or surprised e.g. When taking out trash.

6. Persons entering the premise 

Train staff to ask for identification and to call for verification before allowing entrance to the premises.

Always check the identity of people who visit you shop for deliveries or other business reasons.

Verify and keep staff aware of all maintenance being done.

Insist on verification of personnel employed by builders and maintenance companies.

7. Proper identification of staff employed (even temporary staff)

Verify that the person to be employed stays at the address given as the residential address.

Ensure that a copy of the original identification document is obtained from all people employed.

Obtain and verify contact details of close friends and relatives of the person employed.

Regretfully, My Office magazine’s own Wendy Dancer was a recent victim of an attempted hijacking. While she did manage to get away unscathed, it pays to be prepared:

Keep vehicle windows closed when approaching a robot, and be vigilant at all times, especially at night.

Do not wear jewellery when going out shopping, rather leave it at home in a safe.

Always check that your vehicle’s doors are locked before walking away from the vehicle.

Make sure your valuables are stored out of sight before driving off.

Try to park in paid parking areas where there are security guards.

Test your tracking device to ensure it is in good working order.

Always leave your window approx. 5cm open – if the window is totally closed, it is easier for them to break!

Always put your bag under the passenger seat or in the boot – never grab for it when you are getting out the car when being hijacked he will think you are reaching for a gun and shoot you.

Don’t use petrol stations after 9pm – they are now hijacking there too.

Always keep your cell clipped to your belt so when you are out of the car you can call for help.

Be more aware – count the number of cars around you, the number of people in groups etc. then you will know exactly when one is missing!

Don’t race to the robot if it is red – you get hijacked only when the car is stationary – rather glide to the red robot, so there is only a short time until the robot turns green.

Be very aware when going under bridges – they drop stones onto your windscreen etc. forcing you to stop.

When the gun is put to your window – put both hands up facing him – always allow him to see your hands otherwise he thinks you are looking around for a gun and will shoot you.

Be aware of where the police station is in your work /home area. If a “cop” wants to pull you over drive to the police station first – maybe he is not a cop.

The human body takes 21 days to kick into a habit – therefore, don’t give up on being aware, persist for at least 21 days.

 

Report all crime to the shop-sa Crime Alert number on Jhb: 011 7810372 or CT: 0217901209

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