When you think of robbing an armored truck from a bank, you perhaps imagine a gritty narrative of the “good” bandit merely liberating some excess wealth from the greedy tyranny of the bank or casino in a bastardized Robin Hood fantasy. Hollywood has done a stellar job of romanticizing the idea of robbery.
By now you realize that I am a movie buff, right?
Charming leading men such as George Clooney’s “Danny Ocean” in the Ocean’s Eleven movies, and more recently Idris Elba’s suave, accented mastermind in “Takers”, have become the symbol for this lifestyle that is to be admired and aspired to. There is one thing Hollywood forgot: what stands between aspiring career criminals and their prize are the true heroes, us, the guys in logistics.
So what exactly is it that these cinematic antiheroes usually go after? The primary commodity transported via high security freighting is, obviously, money. Whether transferring from one bank to another, bringing freshly minted currency from De La Rue to distribution points or dispatching old notes for destruction, a vessel with money as cargo will likely be a target for would be bandits.
Similarly, cars ferrying jewelry and precious stones can attract the wrong kind of attention. Transportation of vintage or classic items such as rare manuscripts or paintings worth eight figures may fall victim to theft attacks, although this is not as widespread in Africa as it is overseas. Locally, shipments of electronics require a higher than normal security detail, as electronics are very easy to sell with no questions asked in the more unsavory parts of the city.
With this in mind, it is necessary to make every action imaginable to ensure the safety of these items of value. In the logistics industry, this begins with warehousing. It is in our interest to make sure that facilities which house such items are kept airtight. The simple act of having the cargo behind physical barriers of entry is underestimated but works in deterring casual pilfering. Good, solid doors kept shut with sturdy, tamper-proof locks are our first line of defense. These work well with the inclusion of guards to monitor the area in regular patrols and halt any breach attempts before they start.
Helping out the guards would be our more high tech options, such as installation of surveillance cameras in the facility to alert guards of happenings outside their field of vision and serve as evidence to prosecute any aspiring burglars. Technology can be taken a step further with the installation of state of the art security systems that directly alert police of intruders or even trigger a facility lock-down in case of a breach.
The process of transporting the cargo also lends itself to extreme measures such as cars that are bullet proof, with several measures taken to prevent access to contents by unauthorized individuals. Most armored trucks today are capable of withstanding fairly decent blasts and protect their cargo until police assistance arrives.
Employees are also trained to deal with security crises when they arrive, and can help to keep the precious items safe before the arrival of backup. It is thus of the utmost importance to carefully vet employees set to interact with cargo of great value to be sure that they will not be tempted to help themselves. Next comes training in how to handle a hijacking or hostage situation, and how to contact responders for help.
Employees are also coached on executing the various security strategies taken in high security deliveries. Key of these is the use of decoys. In most cases when goods of extremely high value are being freighted by road, a number of convoys may exit the source simultaneously, with all but one being decoys used to confuse the ill-intentioned among us. Within these convoys, there may be a number of vehicles traveling with only one containing any cargo, similarly used for the sake of misdirection.
The convoy also contains escort cars deployed with the sole purpose of defending the cargo. These are often filled with security personnel armed to the teeth and willing to risk life and limb for their job. Police escorts may also be availed where necessary, such as if goods being transferred are national property.
With measures like these being just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and criminal masterminds like Danny Ocean thankfully in short supply, we in the logistics industry are proud to say that your priceless cargo will be safe in our hands, the unsung heroes of real life.