Police working on ram raid prevention but youth offending a 'social issue'

By Deborah LaHatte

Police say their programme to help retailers install protective equipment to prevent ram raids is well underway.

That comes on top of their campaign to address retail crime and youth offending.

But even though the police were delighted to arrest 14 youth in Auckland and Waikato over the past few days over smash and grabs and ram raids, they do offer a warning

“We are also working alongside agency and community partners to find solutions to what is really a social issue,” Assistant Commissioner Chris De Wattignar says.

“Youth crime especially is a complex matter that needs a coordinated partnership approach.

“This is not for police to solve alone.

Ram raid protection

“We are committed to working with our partners and communities to prevent youth offending and hold young offenders to account in a meaningful and effective way.”

The government has allocated $6 million from the Proceeds of Crime Fund to establish a crime prevention programme managed by Police.

Police are identifying eligible retailers through data analysis of current occurrences, past ram raid-style burglaries, and making sure retailers are small businesses.

A further assessment on site is undertaken to confirm eligibility.

Extra police staff have been brought in to ensure on-site assessments are done as quickly as possible.

This includes a core team of 12 assessors and an extra five ethnic liaison officers who have strong and established relationships with many in the retail sector.

Keeping safe

So far, 40 assessments have been completed and 23 of those stores have also had a site review completed by a protective equipment contractor. These assessments look at a retailer’s security needs and identify the most appropriate solutions, such as fog cannons, sirens, alarms, roller doors or bollards.

Retailers may be eligible for one or more of these options.

Five stores have had installations completed, and a further five have installations underway.

Police are also undertaking crime prevention through environmental design surveys with retailers to help them better understand what they can do to keep themselves safe.

“This can be anything from having fewer posters in the windows and lower shelves in the aisles so people can more easily see into, out of, and around the store, through to suggestions of fog cannons or other physical security measures De Wattignar says.

“We have also set up a web page where people can access advice and tools for themselves https://www.police.govt.nz/advice-services/businesses-and-organisations/...