Having eyes on theft pays off
More Wellington business owners and retail staff will be able to bring thieves to justice next month - just like Tawa’s Ant Simon did recently.
Simon’s Pharmacy on Main Rd was targeted in repeated thefts of retail goods.
Deciding he had had enough, Simon shared CCTV footage with a network of business owners involved in a crime prevention initiative called Eyes On.
A Tory St retailer who had previous run-ins with the prolific thieves passed Simon all the information they had collected, and he then shared it with police, who tracked down the shoplifters and trespassed them.
Simon said he didn’t originally report any incidents to local authorities because ‘‘[Police] wouldn’t act on it’’.
‘‘I didn’t go to Police, because it was an under $300 crime. Police wouldn’t act on it, but we were able to get the shoplifters trespassed as a result [of the retailer’s information].’’
A police spokesperson said Wellington Police would investigate all reports of shoplifting regardless of the value of goods stolen.
Retail thefts cost the New Zealand economy $1.2 billion a year: there were 68,072 reported thefts from retail premises nationwide from July 2014 to December 2016.
Developed by Police and Wellington City Council, the Eyes On programme was launched in 2015 and has led to a 23 per cent reduction in reported shop thefts in the capital’s CBD.
Information sessions are held with retail staff showing them how to respond to and manage suspected shoplifting, identify criminal behaviour, deal with anti-social behaviour and how to keep safe.
Now Tawa is joining other Wellington retailers’ ranks as of August 1, as they look to be more proactive about crime.
For business owners like Simon, the programme creates a sense of empowerment.
‘‘Before this initiative, nothing would happen, people were getting away with these crimes. I feel more comfortable going home now that the retail community has my back.
‘‘While we mightn’t think that the police aren’t doing anything because it’s a low-level crime, all the information adds up to the bigger picture of getting someone caught.’’
Ant Simon’s pharmacy was the target of repeated thefts but the crime prevention initiative Eyes On helped him trespass the culprits.