Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Government announces major crime-prevention package

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The Government is working to reduce ram-raid burglaries, such as the one carried out at the Botany BP earlier this year. Times file photo Wayne Martin

The Labour Government has announced a multi-million dollar package designed to reduce retail crime and re-offending.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Police Minister Chris Hipkins revealed the policy today, less than a week after a worker was killed during an alleged robbery at an Auckland dairy.

The anti-crime package includes a new fog cannon subsidy scheme that will see the Government provide $4000 for all small shops and dairies in New Zealand that want a fog cannon installed, with shops to pay the balance.

A new $4 million fund will be created to support local councils in Auckland, Hamilton, and Bay of Plenty with crime-prevention measures.

An existing $6m retail crime-prevention fund will have its eligibility expanded to include aggravated robberies, including those committed during the past 12 months.

“While youth crime is now much lower than in the past, the risks and harm from ram-raids and other retail crime is concerning communities and creating victims,” Ardern says.

“Shop owners and workers feel targeted. That’s unacceptable.

“Police are having a noticeable impact on offending rates, with ram raids during November down by 83 per cent compared with August – 13 so far this month against a high of 75 in August.

“But we need to lock that progress in and sustain it.

“The initiatives we’re announcing today make this the most significant crime-prevention financial package in recent memory.

“It backs up police actions, through funding to support crime prevention initiatives, such as better street lighting and cameras and by investing in more fog cannons.”

Hipkins says now is the first time the fog cannon and ram-raid funds have operated at the same time.

“Despite global supply chain issues, police have been successful in ordering an extra 455 fog cannons, which are expected to arrive before Christmas.

“This adds to the 270 fog cannons that are currently in the country and have been allocated to affected shops.

“More challenging will be the time it takes to install them.

“The 1000 fog cannons that are already installed took four years, and despite police doubling the number of local contractors that will do the work to six, it’s expected it will take till the second quarter of next year for the number of installations to start to ramp up.”

The $4m of new funding will be made available to local councils to help fund crime-prevention measures.

It will be made up of $2m for Auckland Council, $1m for Hamilton Council and $1m for councils in the Bay of Plenty to match on a dollar-for-dollar basis by councils for local crime-prevention measures.

“These partnerships are likely to be focused on Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) measures in geographic areas where small retailers are commonly targeted, such as street lighting, CCTV cameras and planters,” the Government says.

“We’re also announcing today we will make funding available for all small shops and diaries to install fog cannons, adding to the 1000 that have already been installed as part of the fog cannon initiative.”

The $6m retail crime-prevention fund was set up for small shops and dairies in early 2022 as offending shifted to ram-raiding.

The Government says it’s expanding eligibility to aggravated robbery committed over the last year.

“Police are making progress on the number of stores accessing the fund.

“More than 100 shops now have installations approved, with 431 security measures allocated and underway.

“This includes 93 fog cannons, 78 security sirens, 57 alarms, 63 CCTV systems, 43 bollards and 36 roller doors.

“We’ll also continue our work with repeat offenders and their families.”

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