‘Tougher laws’ for robberies
Government funding for more security measures for small businesses isn’t the answer to the country’s violent robbery problem, Northland shop owners say.
On June 1 Police Minister Paula Bennett announced $1.8million for shopkeepers, dairy owners and local businesses who are battling a spate of aggravated robberies.
Up to 600 businesses identified by police as high risk can apply for co-funding for items like panic alarms, fog cannons and time safes, she says.
Kerikeri Super Liquor Store owner Sanjay Patel - whose store was robbed by two teenage girls armed with axes on May 20 - says his shop is already secured as much as possible.
‘‘I don’t think money would matter.
‘‘What they need to do is something like stricter laws.
‘‘We’re doing our best to secure our business and shops; we train our staff and they know what to do [during a robbery].
‘‘Police are doing their best as well.’’
Kerikeri Dairy owner Chintan Shah says some extra security would help a bit ‘‘but it won’t stop them doing it.’’
‘‘If they start more patrolling that would be more helpful.’’
Shah agrees laws should be tougher.
‘‘I feel that the laws should affect everyone. Crime is crime, whether you’re a teenager or adult...He should be punished the same. Once he’s punished he’ll realise. If we just let him go he will do it again definitely.’’
The Government announcement follows the launch of a police and Crimestoppers campaign to crack down on aggravated robberies, with rewards now being offered in return for information that leads to the prosecution of offenders.
A Whangarei dairy owner who doesn’t want to be named due to being robbed several times before - says most shops already have security measures.
He says it’s a dangerous job, and he is considering leaving it.
‘‘I thought working in the mines was a dangerous job but working in a dairy is dangerous, we must be mad doing it.
‘‘I don’t feel safe. You don’t know who is coming next, and with all the drugs and P out there...it blows people away and they don’t know what they are doing.’’