Hav­ing eyes on theft pays off

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES PAUL

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.’’

PHOTO: JAMES PAUL/STUFF

Ant Si­mon’s phar­macy was the tar­get of re­peated thefts but the crime pre­ven­tion ini­tia­tive Eyes On helped him tres­pass the cul­prits.

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