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News Room

What To Do During A Cash-In-Transit Heist

Jason Snyman
2020-01-21
Out-and-about South Africans have been exposed to another surge in cash-in-transit heists occurring of late. Should the worst happen, and you happen to find yourself present at one of these horrific crimes, what can you do to remain safe?

CIT (Cash-In-Transit) heists continue to menace the South African public at large, with a robbery recorded almost every single day. 

The possibility of a well-oiled, degenerate syndicate being responsible for these attacks is certainly a viable one, and so, it stands to reason that any cash-in-transit van on the road is always a potential target. From Limpopo, to Johannesburg, to Cape Town, no citizen could be considered safe while in the proximity of these vans, where chaos could erupt at any given moment. 

What’s worse is that, as these incidents grow greater in volume, the criminals behind them also appear to be growing far more brazen, and pose a far greater threat to the populus.   

Those who follow the news will undoubtedly remember May of 2018, during which ten CIT heists were recorded across the country in one week alone. This trend continued well into June of that same year, growing more and more violent, and has been rekindled again and again ever since.

Most recently? Just this morning, at the time of writing, one hair-raising CIT heist took place on a packed Malibongwe Drive, just on the outskirts of Cosmo City, Johanessburg. The van's doors were blown off, the occupents of the vehicle assaulted, an undiclosed amount of money was transferred into two getaway cars, and the CIT van was then set ablaze - a fire which also engulfed the vehicle beside it.  

The victims were fortunate to come away from the ordeal with only minor injuries.  

The very nature of a CIT heist is fast, violent and unpredictable, conducted by people who don't care who they have to eliminate in order to get what they want. 

While some of these criminals may certainly be caught, and may even become injured or killed in the act, it hasn't dissuaded others from attempting the same, each and every day. The lure of all that easy money in one convenient location has proven too much to resist.

While many courageous bystanders have managed to take video footage of these heists (often aiding in identifying and capturing the culprits), it's important to remember that these people are incredibly dangerous and desperate, as mentioned above, and will not hesitate to shoot you, or anybody else. 

Your safety always comes first. 

So, let’s take a look at what you could do, should you ever find yourself caught in the crossfire of a brutal CIT heist, to escape unscathed.

What To Do During A Cash-In-Transit Heist

The presence of danger is clear. As of mid-2018 over five guards, two civilians and eight perpetrators have been killed during CIT heists. Over 64 guards have been injured. 

When ascertaining the different types of danger these heists pose, there are a number of factors to consider. The criminals use explosives, and will almost certainly be armed to the teeth. Bullets fly indiscriminately, and everybody in the immediate area is at risk of getting hit. 

Here are a few sourced and selected tips to avoid, survive, or be of assistance during just such an incident:

  • Do not approach an armed security guard while they are performing their duties. They need to remain focused on the job;
  • Avoid parking your car close to armoured CIT vehicles. Just as with the guards, do not approach these vehicles;
  • Never place your own safety at risk. It’s important to remain calm and remove yourself from the situation as fast as possible. Get yourself to a place of safety and do not get involved;
  • During the horrific 2018 Boksburg heist, street vendors at the scene took shelter from the gunfight behind other vehicles. If you happen to be on foot, and in the firing line, this could save your life;
  • Immediately notify the authorities. The SAPS can be contacted at 10111 from anywhere;
  • When in a safe location, be observant. If possible, take note of what the robbers are wearing, any distinguishing features, the colour, make or licence plate number of the car they are using, etc;
  • If possible, write these down or make a note of them on your phone;
  • Be aware of the shock factor. Symptoms can creep up on you. These include feelings of anxiety or panic, trouble with breathing or clammy skin. Report to the nearest hospital if you need to;
  • If you notice any suspicious behaviour on the roads, blow the whistle and report it to the SAPS. Early warnings may prevent a deadly situation.

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