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Police say retail crime declines amidst public scepticism


Praneeta Mahajan
Hamilton, July 11, 2024

The New Zealand Police says that prevention and response strategies to mitigate the impact of aggravated robbery and ram raids on local communities are an ongoing priority.

According to recent statistics, ramraids plummeted to 15 incidents in April 2024 from a high of 86 in August 2022.

According to Assistant Commissioner (Investigations) Paul Basham, this decline reflects targeted interventions and heightened vigilance by law enforcement agencies.

“Alongside this reduction, over the past year, 534 individuals faced court proceedings for aggravated robbery, underscoring the Police’s commitment to holding offenders accountable,” he said in a Statement.

Challenges and Solutions

He outlined the critical nature of addressing crimes that threaten public safety.

“When there is a risk of violence or actual harm to individuals going about their daily lives, that is our utmost priority,” he said.

The impact of these crimes extends beyond financial losses, instilling fear and insecurity within communities, making their prevention and response crucial for restoring public confidence.

Despite successes in reducing ramraids, challenges persist, notably an increase in aggravated robberies targeting various retail establishments.

Auckland has witnessed a surge in incidents at petrol stations, jewellers, and malls, prompting targeted initiatives like Community Beat Teams and Operation Safer Streets to bolster security measures and reassure affected communities.

“We have seen progress in reducing ram raids, but unfortunately, aggravated robberies remain a concern. Some incidents involve repeat offenders, necessitating a robust response to ensure public safety and deter future criminal activities,” Mr Basham said.

Community Engagement

Central to these efforts is community engagement and collaboration with stakeholders to address underlying factors contributing to youth crime.

Recognising that many offenders come from backgrounds marked by neglect, violence, and abuse, the Police stress the importance of holistic support and rehabilitation through programmes like Fast Track.

Launched in December 2022, Fast Track provides intensive, wrap-around services aimed at reducing reoffending and addressing socio-economic vulnerabilities among young offenders in the 10-17 age group. Thus far, 378 children and 101 young people have been referred to multi-agency teams.  Of these, a majority have not reoffended.

“Addressing the root causes of offending behaviour requires a collaborative approach. By working closely with our partners and communities, we aim to create long-term solutions that promote safer environments for all,” Mr Basham said.

Retail Crime Prevention

As well as targeted interventions, the Police’s Retail Crime Prevention Programme has played a pivotal role in enhancing security measures across retail outlets.

To date, 3737 security enhancements have been implemented, benefiting 883 stores nationwide. These measures, coupled with the proactive work of the National Retail Investigation Support Unit, which has pressed 2254 charges against 383 offenders since its inception in May 2022, underscore the multifaceted approach employed by law enforcement agencies to combat retail crime.

The Police have urged retailers to be vigilant and utilise resources available through the Retail Crime Prevention Hub.

Mr Basham said that this online platform provides essential guidance and tools to enhance security protocols and mitigate risks associated with retail crime.

“Preventing crime requires a collective effort. By empowering retailers with knowledge and support, we strengthen our communities’ resilience against criminal activities,” he said.

For further information on retail crime prevention strategies and resources, please visit www.police.govt.nz/advice-services/businesses-and-organisations/retail-crime-prevention-hub/prevention-resources.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

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