A city businessman who has been the victim of three robberies over the past two years has told Stabroek Business that he believes that a large number of robberies carried out against business premises are aided by employees of those establishments who provide criminals with critical “inside” information.
The businessman who spoke with Stabroek Business on condition of anonymity said that he believes that at least one robbery at his business premises was carried out with support from an employee who may have provided the robbers with information which no outsider to the establishment would have been able to access without help.
The businessman said that he had been struck by the fact that when the robbers invaded the premises they headed directly for the area where a large quantity of money was being held. “The way in which we deal with cash would have made it difficult for the robbers to locate that money if they had not received inside information” he said.
And the businessman said that he had chosen to make his concerns public since it was his view that “inside jobs” were far more prevalent than the business community suspected and that measures need to be put in place to respond to what he said was “a worrying situation.”
The city businessman told Stabroek Business that he felt that routine police clearances were not adequate criteria for hiring employees since “there is only so much that the police can know about a person in the first place.” He said that he was aware that some business houses had resorted to doing personal background checks on prospective employees using private security consultants. However, the businessman told Stabroek Business that despite his concerns he was yet to move in that direction.
Noting that security surveillance equipment had now become commonplace in many business premises, the businessman said that in many instances this equipment was used as much to monitor the movement of staff as it was to deter criminals. He said that colleagues in the business sector had expressed concern to him over the high incidence of theft by employees and that some companies had resorted to searching their employees before they leave the business premises.
And according to the businessman the prevalence of cellular phones had made business places even more vulnerable to robberies aided by employees since possession of this means of communication meant that they could pass on information quickly and quietly. He said that while he understood the importance of cellular phones in cases of emergencies involving employees’ families, he had become sufficiently concerned over the potential for their use in robbery plans to ban their use on his business premises.
Asked about the role of the police in reducing the incidence of robbery attacks against business premises the businessman said that he was unsure whether street patrols alone could address the problem. He said that sometimes it seems that criminals simply “work around” the police, a circumstance that suggested that part of robbery plans included monitoring the movement of police patrols. He said he felt that the incidence of attacks against business premises could be reduced if the police did more intelligence work in communities to “flush out” known and suspected criminal gangs.
The businessman said that he was also concerned over incidents in which women were attached to criminal gangs. “The fact that you are less likely to believe that a woman would be a part of a robbery gang makes the situation even more dangerous” he said.
Asked whether he felt that the business community had taken a sufficiently robust stance in response to robbery attacks against businesses the businessman said that while there was some evidence that individual businesses had moved to strengthen security, the business community as a whole had not done “nearly enough” to respond to the problem. He said that he felt that the business community should tackle the problem “as a group” and that the Private Sector Commission and the Chambers of Commerce across the country should recruit capable security consultants to monitor the local crime situation and to provide timely advice to businesses on appropriate anti-crime measures.