Dairies, petrol stations and liquor stores were robbed hundreds of times last year – will 2018 be any better?

Shop workers spent 2017 living in fear as the number of aggravated robberies around the country increased.

There were 2316 recorded robberies across the entire country from January to October in 2017.

Of those there were 1047 victims of robberies in the retail NEC, service station and chemist/pharmacy sector between January and October 2017.

This includes victims of robberies at dairies, liquor stores and petrol stations.

This is an increase on the 916 victims of robberies for the same months in 2016.

"They are very hard working people, they work 14 to 16 hours a day, and still they are living in fear. So, this is not the society that we are proud of in New Zealand," Crime Prevention Group President Sunny Kaushal told 1 NEWS.

"Every day, every dairy owner is living in fear."

"They do not know what is going to come in the day for them. Wherever this has happened these are young families, small families and the trauma they are facing after the robberies is huge."

Auckland dairy owner severely injured in armed robbery

In March this year, one Auckland dairy owner suffered severe injuries to his right arm, when seven people entered his Mt Roskill store armed with a baseball bat and crowbar.

His arm remains paralysed and he was not able to return to work, and faced bankruptcy.

"My pain is too much; I can't sleep through the night," he told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp earlier this year.

"My future is zero… To be honest, they should have killed me on that day."

Mr Kaushal says shop workers should have the right to self-defence.

"Many of the dairy owners are trying to do things on their own. Even in South Auckland, many of them have installed the metal bars, a jail-like structure," he says.

"The pepper sprays are not allowed, rocks are not allowed, so that is a big problem. When they try to protect themselves, they get charged. If they do not protect themselves offenders stab them."

In October 2017, police rolled out a new crime prevention tool as part of $1.8 million in funding to prevent aggravated robberies.

Fifty-four stores are expected to have the DNA spray installed by the end of 2017.

'The focus needs to be towards the offenders. How do we stop them?'

Mr Kaushal says it works to an extent, but it is not the answer.

"The focus needs to be towards the offenders. How do we stop them? How do they get that fear of the law."

"Criminals should know they will get caught and they will be held accountable."

Politicians had their own thoughts on the issue this year.

National Party leader Bill English assured the public he was listening, promising millions of dollars and hundreds more police.

Whereas – then Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner suggested dairies should stop selling cigarettes.

But NZ First leader and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters disagreed, vowing tougher action.

"Should women stop going out jogging if they feel threatened by rapists? Should banks stop dispensing money if they feel threatened by robbers?"

Where to now?

In recent weeks the new coalition Government met with the Crime Prevention Group who presented a memorandum.

Mr Kaushal said the meeting went well and their eight point agenda was well received by MPs.

Ministers assured members of the Crime Prevention Group they will take action, first by committing 1,800 Police officers.

As the new year rolls around the new Government commits to increasing police numbers in an effort to combat aggravated robberies. But will it be enough? Source: 1 NEWS

MOST
POPULAR STORIES