ATG Digital reveals business burglaries on the rise

South Africa’s ATG Digital has revealed business burglaries are on the rise, with a peak in December.

As you prepare to go on holiday, criminals prepare to get to work. That’s the word from ATG Digital’s Ariel Flax as he shares findings from a Distribution Centre Risk Report, produced by a prominent logistics company.

Flax said: “We are honoured to have access to this insightful report shared by one of our leading customers. As one of the foremost logistics companies in South Africa, it is encouraging to see the customer using its intelligence to educate other businesses on the real and present threats to business security over the festive season.”

The report reviews crime risk trends related to distribution centres between August 2021 and August 2022.  Flax added: “It brings to light several interesting trends regarding business burglaries that— although related to distributed centres—parallels what we see with other business clients across the board.”

As such, Ariel advises enterprises of all sizes to consider the report’s key findings so they can apply appropriate security measures from November to January.

Burglaries

  1. Most of the security incidents during the reporting period were burglaries.
  2. Burglaries peak between November and January.
  3. Most incidents occur on Sundays. 
  4. On any given evening, the hours 23h00-00h00 are the highest risk.
  5. An overwhelming majority of the incidents occurred in Gauteng.

Robberies 

  1. After burglaries, a large portion of crime incidents are categorised as robberies. 
  2. Gauteng again reported the highest number of armed robberies, with the Northwest and Western Cape provinces in second and third.
  3. Robberies occur more frequently in the early mornings between 00h00-09h00.

Analysing the robberies, the report uncovers a clear Modus Operandi (MO) used by perpetrators. The same syndicate was likely responsible for incidents between October 2021 and May 2022. 

In this MO, perpetrators gain entry by force, threatening security guards with firearms or subterfuge, posing as guards or contractors. Guards are tied-up, and their panics removed. From there, the perpetrators open the gate for trucks with interlink trailers with cloned or falsified plates. Forklift workers are forced to aid the perpetrators with loading their trucks, after which the criminals take the goods to a rented warehouse as a ‘cool-off’ area. 

Professional Recommendations 

Flax explained: “As we can see from the findings, access control is the first and most critical line of defence. Several technology-driven access control measures can support guards and prevent entry to your premises”. He proposes the following.

  • Automating gate or boom opening with: 
    • biometric technology (such as facial recognition) 
    • advanced camera technology (such as ATG cam, an IoT Camera with onboard OCR for live database lookups)
    • radio frequency identification (RFID) access control, where UHF readers pick up a unique ID from an RFID antenna fitted to authorised vehicles. 
  • Implementing visitor or contractor pre-registration, where individuals’ identities are verified online and then preloaded onto the systems

According to Ariel, such solutions can be “easily integrated into your existing physical security infrastructure”. 

Finally, Ariel encourages businesses to follow in these footsteps, using data to bolster security. He concluded: “The most important way to safeguard against crime is to keep an eye on your data. It is good to receive real-time information and alerts on suspicious activity and look out for trends so you can anticipate threats.”