Identix secures Internet access at Internet cafe

December 2000 Access Control & Identity Management

Commercial crime has taken on massive proportions in South Africa, to the point where the criminal justice system is unable to cope. Rather than wait for solutions from this quarter, companies should rather be looking to resolve the issue by proactive staffing policies and internal security procedures, which include outside security management, says Howard Griffiths, managing director of Griffiths and Associates.

"Research indicates that as little as 20% of all commercial crimes are actually reported," says Griffiths. "If this figure is accurate, it means that there are in excess of 350 000 commercial crimes committed in South Africa every year, and increasing all the while."

Even more disturbing is the fact that the justice system is already overloaded with the reported crimes, with even the simplest cases now taking more than a year to come to court. "Very often this represents no solution at all, as the damage is long done and irreparable by the time a prosecution is obtained, as only then can damages be awarded," Griffiths says.

As a result, companies will be increasingly forced to start using private security solutions, to combat commercial crime. Traditionally commercial crime consists of five major categories: fraud, corruption, forgery and uttering, theft, and organised crime or syndicates.

Fraud is misrepresentation - by deliberate omission or positive failure with the intention to defraud. "Legal intent to defraud can be defined as making false representations when the consequences of such representations could be foreseen," Griffiths says.

This includes recklessness - managing or trading with a company without regard to the interests of the shareholders. This could include public statements: one made in the belief that it is true, is not misrepresentation: one made in the hope that it is true, is classed as reckless.

Private security solutions employed to combat this particular form of crime include forensic analysis of policies and procedures, monitoring of individuals and extensive background checks, which include personality analyses. If certain traits - such as a tendency towards exaggeration, for example, can be identified before a person is entrusted with any particular position within a company, the chances of fraud - conventional or reckless - can be reduced," says Griffiths.

Theft is defined as the unlawful dispossession of the property of another, while corruption in the South African sense is fast becoming an institutionalised method of obtaining favours in return for services or goods.

"Once again, a simple criminal record check on employees before they are employed will reveal a host of details that person would rather keep hidden," says Griffiths. "Prior convictions for theft or related crimes can most certainly be used to screen employees and reduce the chances of re-occurrence."

Corruption

Corruption is another matter. "A valuable part, but not the only one, in which a private security solution can deliver in this field is the identification of hidden assets by a suspect. It is becoming easier and easier to hide ill-gotten gains," says Griffiths. "Very often, only a highly specialised investigation will reveal stashed goods or cash, and the level of sophistication required to unearth such caches is usually beyond the reach of the non-security specialist company."

Forgery and uttering relate to documentation - and once again, the increasing sophistication of fraudsters in this regard requires specialist intervention. "Only a short while ago a case was revealed where fraudsters, using chemicals, had lifted a signature off a credit card and placed it on a cheque, so perfectly and without damaging the original card, that the cheque was accepted as genuine by a bank." Private security companies are very often the only ones with enough technical skill and know-how to detect such instances, and take measures to prevent them.

Organised crime takes on the form of drug rings, extortion rackets and the like - but also includes an important and growing phenomenon in this country: that of employee crime. "For example, a bank recently suffered from an organised syndicate which involved outside criminals and bank tellers, who would either pass through cheques otherwise deemed unacceptable, or simply overpay or underpay clients," says Griffiths.

Employee screening - both pre- and post - provides much of the proactive answer to this problem. "While pre-employment screening will shake down those with existing criminal records, post-employment screening will reveal those who have developed criminal tendencies while in the employ of an organisation," explains Griffiths.

Post employment screening will also involve monitoring employees for any relevant lifestyle changes - for example, substance abuse, increase or decrease in living standards and so on, all of which can be firm indicators of a problem." Most commercial crime has its origin in opportunity combined with motivation and justification," says Griffiths.

"If an employee is presented with an opportunity, then only the strongest amongst any of us will not fall prey to that opportunity, even if it includes taking a pencil," he says.

"Motivation plays another role: is the person in need of money? Or are they acting out of spite towards the company? Only post employment screening will answer those questions."

Finally, there is usually an element of justification. "If employees feel that they can defraud a company because they see other employees doing it without retribution, then it becomes easier to justify their own actions," Griffiths says. Companies must have a defined policy of commercial crime, and must be willing to enforce it, otherwise such policies are meaningless.

"With criminal prosecutions fast disappearing as a viable option to prevent commercial crime, privately driven solutions are becoming the first line of defence," Griffiths concludes.

For more information contact Howard Griffiths, Griffiths and Associates, 011 786 8556.




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page



Further reading:

HID addresses identification challenges at ID4Africa
August 2019 , News, Access Control & Identity Management, Government and Parastatal (Industry)
Being able to verify people’s identities is critical for a nation’s growth and prosperity and yet HID says nearly half of all African citizens can’t prove who they are to vote, travel freely and receive government benefits and services.

Read more...
Came acquires Turkish company Özak
August 2019, CAME BPT South Africa , News, Access Control & Identity Management
Came broadens its market horizons and signals growth and consolidation in the Middle East.

Read more...
The benefits of electronic visitor management
August 2019, Powell Tronics , Access Control & Identity Management, Residential Estate (Industry)
Access control is a critical aspect of estate security as it represents the controls put in place to restrict entry (and possibly exit) along the outer boundary of the location.

Read more...
Addressing risks by means of access control layout and design
August 2019 , Access Control & Identity Management, Security Services & Risk Management
In order to develop a suitable, practical and appropriate security system for any organisation, it is essential to first develop a master security and life safety plan strategy.

Read more...
Secure hands-free access
August 2019, Suprema , Access Control & Identity Management, Residential Estate (Industry)
Suprema’s facial biometric terminals bring no-touch access into secure residential estates, high-rise apartments and luxury homes providing fast, easy and intuitive user authentication with the added benefit of hygiene.

Read more...
MorphoAccess Sigma Extreme
August 2019, IDEMIA , Products, Access Control & Identity Management
MorphoAccess Sigma Extreme from IDEMIA is a touchscreen device with multiple recognition device interfaces (NFC chip reader, PIN and BioPIN codes, contactless card readers).

Read more...
Outdoor access terminals
August 2019, Suprema , Access Control & Identity Management, Residential Estate (Industry), Products
Rugged, dust- and weather-proof access control solutions that provide exceptional durability in extreme conditions is a strong requirement for many residential estates.

Read more...
MorphoWave Compact
August 2019, IDEMIA , Products, Access Control & Identity Management
The MorphoWave Compact captures and matches four fingerprints on either the right or left hand in any direction. It is robust to environmental factors such as extreme light or dust.

Read more...
MorphoAccess Sigma Lite
August 2019, IDEMIA , Products, Access Control & Identity Management
IDEMIA’s MorphoAccess Sigma Lite and Lite + are fingerprint access control terminals, offering time and attendance in and out function keys.

Read more...
Eliminating forced gate opening scenarios
August 2019, ET Nice , Home Security, Access Control & Identity Management
When activated by the gate forced open alarm feature, the transmitter transmits a wireless alarm signal up to 750 metres in any direction.

Read more...