Risk Management

The changing face of crime against business

By: Bryte SA

According to the recently released 2016 Bryte SA Crime Tracker, malicious damage on the rise while crime against businesses declines.

Bryte Insurance, a proactive business risk specialist, today released its new Crime Tracker; an indicator of long-term crime trends in South Africa as captured by insurance claims. The Crime Tracker measures the annual change in crime-related claims due to hijacking, robbery, theft and malicious damage, committed against individuals and businesses.

“The Bryte Crime Tracker is part of our broader education and awareness campaign to share relevant information and tips with the public to help them proactively manage their risk profiles through better mitigation decisions,” said Cloud Saungweme, Chief Claims Officer at Bryte Insurance.

The Bryte Crime Tracker reflected an average growth in crime of 1.1% in 2016 compared to the previous year. A noteworthy trend for 2016 was the continued decline in crimes committed against businesses. This decrease in criminal activity reflects a heightened vigilance among businesses, whereas the Crime Tracker shows that criminals are increasingly focusing on individuals as they probably pose easier targets.


“Business owners have been at the forefront of both petty and serious crime in South Africa due to their visibility and general proximity to major access routes, which are risk factors even as they are commercial considerations as well. Very often we find South African enterprise with world first innovations, and safety is no exception. Investments into cutting-edge safety technology, and also conventional measures, do pay off in reduced risk of crime.”

The Bryte Crime Tracker for Contact Crime (robbery and hijacking) peaked at an annual growth rate of 10.3% in June 2016, but moderated below zero at a 5.6% annual growth in December. Malicious Damage (to fixed and movable assets) showed a large dip in June 2016 at a 26.4% annual contraction, but unfortunately increased considerably towards year end to peak at 12.0% annual growth in November before decreasing to 5.1% growth in December 2016. Theft has shown a steady rise from its low point of an annual contraction of 22.6% in January, to gradually increase to growth territory in November at 1.3% and a slight decrease to 1.0% in December 2016.

“Malicious damage, whether it be petty vandalism or instances of serious property damage such as arson, is equally split between business premises and homes,” the report stated. “Prevention and prosecution of these criminals is especially difficult due to the nature of the crime and the fact that often little to no evidence is available.

However, the same principle applies as with other crimes; property owners need to be prepared around the clock as criminals do not keep business hours.”

The majority of the incidents occurred in Gauteng with 25.7% of the population-weighted total, followed by the Western Cape with 24.3% and KwaZulu-Natal with 19.4%. The incidence levels reflect the biggest centres of economic activity and population densities in South Africa.

“Everyone is affected by crime in South Africa, although certain areas are more prone to specific crimes such as theft or hijacking. Crime levels tend to spike during holiday periods, with Easter being no exception. During this time, South Africans need to be particularly vigilant – everything from ensuring that your house alarm is in working order to supporting your local Community Police Forum (CPF) could ensure your safety as well as the safety of your family.”

Bryte Crime Tracker incidence per province in 2016 (population weighted) The map highlights incidences of crime per province from low shown as light colours to high shown as dark colours:

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