Opinion: Want to easily stop the robberies?

Last night there was another robbery at a bakery in Limassol, this time the thief’s weapon of choice was crowbar. After threatening the cashier he received 490 euro and walked away. The police is investigating the case as usual.

Nothing special about it, news like these is becoming common nowadays. What’s surprising is the fact that not much is being done to stop these robberies from happening in the first place. Maybe the solution is staring us in the face but we still don’t think outside the box.

10 days ago I was in Limassol for the carnival weekend, a time when the town is at its busiest and liveliest. After finishing clubbing at 5 am, before heading back to Nicosia, we drove to a bakery (one of the Limassol local chains, which I will call S) to get something to munch on on the way home. We picked up a few things and went to the cashier; there was just one woman there who clearly couldn’t speak any Greek and could hardly communicate in English (particularly frequent phenomenon of Limassol and generally all-over Cyprus as of lately). At that point I realized I was out of cash, so I took out a credit card but, to my surprise, the cashier told us they don’t accept credit cards. We ended up leaving without buying anything and driving to another bakery of an island-wide chain (which I’ll call Z). Finally there they gladly accepted payment by credit card. Also it’s important to note that at the second bakery there were 3 employees working there (at 5am) and the two that I actually talked to, even though not Cypriot, they both were speaking Greek well enough for the job.
How’s this related to the bakery robberies?

It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that the less money you have in the register the less money you will lose in case of a robbery. Also it doesn’t take a very bright thief (especially one of the crowbar or sword types we’ve heard of lately) to understand that the less money he has the chance to steal the less the return for the risk he takes. Maybe all it takes to solve this problem is not paying overtime for extra police patrols; it could all be a matter of souring the pot for the thieves. We’re living in 2011; Cypriots have become very familiar to plastic money (if you don’t believe me read some of the statistics JCC publishes from time to time). We should embrace some of the technology available to us. Credit card charges are now as low as 1.5%, which costs much less than having a security system, guards, extra employees, and still the risk of losing all your day’s income over.

The Naïve Observer