Bay of Plenty Times

Business break-ins will be election issue

Public needs sense of safety to support local operators

- Comment: Matt Cowley Matt Cowley is the chief executive of the Tauranga Business Chamber.

Everyone is feeling the stress right now. Whether it’s financial pressures, work, family or relationsh­ip pressures — it impacts all parts of the community.

The rising cost of living is incredibly frustratin­g. Housing costs have gone up 8.2 per cent and food costs are up 12 per cent.

But ... there is no excuse for taking your frustratio­n out by stealing from businesses.

Most of us have seen the footage of the smash-and-grab at Bayfair last weekend. It was a despicable act, and it’s not an isolated case.

Other retailers have told me they’ve had people simply walk out of their shops with handfuls of good, completely disregardi­ng the staff pleading with them to pay for the products.

These offenders know any nearby security guards cannot do anything other than call the police.

It appears the balance of risk and reward for these acts is in their favour.

Be cautious when politician­s claim ram raids are trending down — this is only one category of the criminal behaviour we’re experienci­ng.

A “ram raid” generally happens after hours and involves ramming a vehicle into a premises to create an entry point and raiding the place.

Meanwhile, what happened at Bayfair was an amateur and intimidati­ng smash-and-grab during normal opening hours. People walking out with a handful of

products is classified as shopliftin­g.

These different categories carry their own crime statistics.

Perhaps some people think

stealing from a business is a victimless crime — but this is far from the truth.

These acts cost business owners in insurance excess and premiums (if they have insurance at all), welfare support for their staff, additional security measures to deter repeat occurrence­s, and closures while repairs are made and the shop is restocked. And let’s not discount the countless nights of lost sleep and stress on their families.

Business owners are limited in their ability to protect their businesses from these crimes, but there are some basic things they should do to help deter it, including rethinking their store layout and the location of valuable items, assessing any physical barriers and making the presence of security cameras known. It’s important to train staff on what to watch out for or do in different situations.

Police also recommend security measures such as installing roller doors and bollards.

I recently walked into a dairy in Hamilton which had many of the recommende­d security measures installed — and I felt like I was in a high-security prison.

Tauranga will look and feel very different if more retailers follow security recommenda­tions, but this is the time we’re living in.

What if a crime does occur at your business? Police ask businesses to call 111 if they suspect suspicious behaviour, or if a crime is being committed.

If the crime has already happened, make sure you still register the event with the police’s 105 service. This helps ensure we have accurate crime statistics and keeps politician­s accountabl­e for what is actually happening.

Crime is going to be a big election issue for all political parties. It’s not just scary for business owners and staff, but customers and the wider public are becoming increasing­ly concerned about their perception of safety.

The new Minister of Police and the Minister of Justice need to work together on this problem, and fast, as it has the potential to get worse as winter approaches.

The public needs a sense of safety to encourage them to get out and continue supporting our local businesses.

 ?? ??
 ?? ?? A daylight robbery recently took place at the Michael Hill store at the Bayfair Shopping Centre.
A daylight robbery recently took place at the Michael Hill store at the Bayfair Shopping Centre.
 ?? ?? The Bayfair Michael Hill team at the store’s reopening after Sunday’s daylight robbery.
The Bayfair Michael Hill team at the store’s reopening after Sunday’s daylight robbery.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand