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Multi-million dollar package to tackle retail crime and reoffending

Praneeta Mahajan

Praneeta Mahajan

Hamilton, 28 November 2022

PM Ardern at the Post Cabinet Press conference today, 28 November 2022

The Government has today announced a significantly extended package of measures to combat retail crime, with new initiatives to partner with small businesses and local councils.

This is deemed to be the most significant crime prevention financial package in recent memory to tackle crime and reoffending.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern started her address by saying that shop owners and workers feel targeted. That is unacceptable.

She said, “While youth crime is now much lower than in the past, the risks and harm from ram raids and other retail crime is concerning communities and creating victims.”

Fog cannon subsidy scheme

The Government announced that it will establish a new fog cannon subsidy scheme, open to all small shops and dairies in New Zealand that want a fog cannon installed.

“Funding of $4000 will be available for each shop that will be able to have the fog cannon installed through an approved supplier, meaning they can access them directly without an onerous process. Additional details will be released shortly,” Ms Ardern said.

Police Minister Chris Hipkins said this will be the first time the fog cannon and ram raid funds have operated at the same time.

The fog cannon fund was set up in 2017 after aggravated robberies of commercial premises had doubled in comparison to the 2015 statistics, from 599 to 1170 to be more precise.

It was expanded in 2018 and 2019, and 1000 fog cannons were installed by the end of 2021.

Local crime prevention boost

New funding of $4 million will be made available to the local councils to assist with crime prevention measures. This will be made up of $2 million for Auckland Council, $1 million for Hamilton Council and $1 million for the councils in the Bay of Plenty to match on a dollar-for-dollar basis by Councils for local crime prevention measures.

These partnerships are likely to be focused on Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) measures in geographic areas where small retailers are commonly targeted, such as street lighting, CCTV cameras and planters.

Conversations have been had already between the Police, government officials and Auckland Council, Hamilton Council and Bay of Plenty Councils to identify opportunities that can get started soon.

It was also announced today that funding will be made available for all small shops and diaries to install fog cannons, adding to 1000 dairies that have already been installed as part of the fog cannon initiative.

PM announces the package for Retail crime prevention

Extension of the Retail Crime Prevention Fund

Today, the government expanded the eligibility, by including aggravated robbery committed over the last year to the list for the $6 Million Retail Crime Prevention Fund that was set up for small shops and dairies in early 2022 as offending shifted to ram-raiding.

As per the announcement held this afternoon, Police are making progress on the number of stores accessing the fund. It was stated that more than 100 shops now have installations approved, with 431 security measures allocated and underway. This includes 93 fog cannons, 78 security sirens, 57 alarms, 63 CCTV systems, 43 bollards and 36 roller doors.

The government will also continue their work with repeat offenders and their families.

The Prime Minister said she could not emphasise enough how important it was that “Justice is done.”

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink correspondent based in Hamilton.

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