‘Tougher laws’ for rob­beries

Northern News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JENNY LING

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.’’

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