Te Awamutu Courier
Bollards to ram raiders
Waipa¯ District Council working with store owners to deter thieves
Waikato police investigated an aggravated robbery at Noel Leeming Te Awamutu in the early hours of March 23. Officers were called to the premises about 4.15am. They found a security guard had been assaulted and a vehicle had been used to gain entry to the premises, with items stolen.
The guard was taken to the hospital with a head injury and is now recovering at home.
Police made comprehensive inquiries, which led to the arrest of two young men. They appeared on a number of charges on March 24 in the Youth Court.
The timing of the ram raid at Noel Leeming was “bad luck”, as bollards are currently being manufactured. There are temporary concrete blocks in place.
Waipa¯ District Council transportation manager Bryan Hudson says the District Public Places Bylaw 2018 prohibits the installation of any structures in public spaces without written authorisation from the council.
“This is because the council has to balance the private use of public land against the needs of the public to use the footpath,” says Bryan.
“We also have to avoid placing structures that interfere with the reasonable use of road space for utility services like water, power, gas telecommunications and electricity.”
But district council is sympathetic to property and store owners who have been repeatedly targeted by ram raiders, despite the various prevention measures they have installed within the properties themselves.
“We also acknowledge that this type of behaviour does seem to be escalating.
“We have worked with businesses to help them examine different protection devices.
“Some stores have installed bollards or rails directly within their property line and thus could do so without impacting the public space or needing any approvals from council and this is our preferred approach as it is often the least cost and complexity for the store owner,” says Bryan.
Where this was not possible, council has granted a couple of licences for business and property owners to install bollards on the footpath immediately outside their premises. The owner is responsible to meet all costs.
Bryan says, “It appears that only particular types of stores are being targeted, so it isn’t something that needs to happen outside every storefront and it isn’t something we encourage generally because the bollards could become an additional trip hazard or obstacle for pedestrians.
“It is also common that there are buried services in that same space so for many stores it may be prohibitively expensive to move buried services to install bollards.”
Stirling Sports Te Awamutu shop coowner Mike Waters says he hasn’t had any issues with ram raiding since installing prevention rails at the front of his store.
Before the installation, in February 2017, a second ram raid within five weeks was committed at midnight by a group of people — including a 12-yearold offender. They stole more than $12,000 worth of stock.
Mike believes prevention bars and bollards are “a very good deterrent, but it just means they will go look for an easier target”.
They originally were not allowed to put “proper” bollards in, which Mike understands was due to the services under the ground.
“For a proper bollard to be put in you need to go deep into the ground which interferes with all the services down there,” says Mike.
The store was “lucky that our building was offset of the property line by the exact thickness of the steel bars that we have been able to put in”.
Mike believes “deterring is all you can do, we just have to get to the stage where it is just too hard for them”.
. . . it isn’t something that needs to happen outside every storefront and it isn’t something we encourage generally because the bollards could become an additional trip hazard or obstacle for pedestrians. Bryan Hudson