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Youth “crimewave” terrorises businesses and communities 

Ram Raids 

It is being widely reported that Glengarry Wines has gone public with footage of a recent ram raid against one of their locations. The chain of 16 bottle shops has had 42 ram raids against their locations over the past 18 months. 

Police Minister Chris Hipkins states that of 129 ram raids from May to August of 2022, 84 of those were in Auckland. All, according to Hipkins, involved young offenders under 18 years of age. 

Police recently stated that ram raids have gone down over the past several months, but failed to provide data at the time to back up the claim.

Murder of a dairy worker in PM’s electorate

The stabbing murder of a dairy worker in Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s electorate of Sandringham has galvanised the nation and sparked public debate about the Government’s handling of aggravated robberies and retail crime. 

There are claims from community representatives that the Rose Cottage Superette, where the stabbing occurred, had applied for the Government’s crime prevention funding since 2017 to have security measures like fog cannons installed, but were turned down several times. 

Minister Hipkins has stated to the media that he is inquiring into the reasons the owner’s applications were rejected. 

Community, business and opposition respond 

Dairy and Business Association chair Sunny Kaushal has been widely quoted in the media as saying business owners feel unsafe. 

Both ACT and the National Party have been vocal in their criticism of Labour and what they call a “soft on crime” approach. 

Recently, National has announced a policy to create a new criminal category of Serious Young Offender (SYO), which would capture 10 – 17 year olds convicted of multiple serious offences. 15 – 17 year old SYO’s, at the judge’s discretion, could be sentenced to serve time at military-style academies run by the defense force.  

National has also adopted a policy from ACT that calls for ankle monitoring for young offenders.

The Government, in August of 2022, repealed the three strikes law. The law mandated minimum sentences for offenders convicted of serious offences, but was controversial. A joint Corrections, Police and the Ministry of Justice brief cast doubt on its effectiveness in curbing offending. 

The rising costs of crime on businesses and communities 

Many small business owners say they are demoralised. There are several anecdotal reports of small business owners closing shop out of fear and frustration. 

Also, there are anecdotal reports of insurance premiums rising dramatically as businesses have been subjected to multiple ram raids and robberies against the same locations over relatively short periods of time.  

Damage from violent robberies and ram raids can easily total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Foodstuffs, the parent company of Pak n’ Save, 4 Square, and other well known grocery chains, is responding to the steep rise in crime by trialling facial recognition technology (FRT) throughout many of their North Island locations.

The technology uses Artificial Intelligence to identify patrons.

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