Police Minister Paula Bennett has announced that $1.8 million will be made available for robbery prevention at dairies, superettes and small local businesses.
“We’ve listened to the concerns of shop keepers, that’s why we’ve put aside this money to be used for co-funding for a range of security and prevention measures,” Mrs Bennett says.
“Businesses assessed as being high risk will be invited to apply for co-funding for things like panic and high volume interior alarms, DNA spray, fog cannons and time safes for cash and storage of cigarettes. Shop owners will also be given advice about how to alter the layout of their shops to make them safer.
“Police have already increased the numbers of officers in high-risk areas, and carried out crime prevention seminars. Officers in Auckland have visited over 1,000 businesses over the past three months to provide prevention advice. Police have arrested 106 people in connection with all aggravated robberies that have taken place over the past two months.
“The money is from the Justice Sector Fund and is aimed at small family or individually-owned businesses that are considered to be high risk that can’t cover the costs of increased security without some help. Police will identify high risk businesses that meet the criteria, and they will be invited to apply to the fund if they need financial assistance to install new security measures.
“Police will fund up to 50 per cent of the cost of the security measures. In some exceptional circumstances, they may pay a larger share. It’s expected all of the 500-600 businesses considered high risk will be eligible for co-funding. In addition to that, around 3,500 businesses will be visited to receive safety advice.
“Businesses at high risk of robberies will be determined by using established intelligence assessment tools that overlay crime rates with other characteristics, such as type of crime, the time of day and location. Police have assured me that they will be able to support the majority of high-risk businesses over a six month period.
“Aggravated robbery is a serious crime. These criminals need to know that they could face 14 years in prison and they’re much more likely to get caught now Police have these new measures in place.”
This funding comes on top of the “There’s nothing good about stolen goods” campaign announced by Police last week which targets businesses or individuals receiving stolen property from robberies. Rewards have been offered through Crimestoppers for those who provide information which leads to a conviction.
“We’re taking this issue seriously, we want to stop these awful crimes from happening to innocent victims in the first place and make sure these cowards are off the streets,” Mrs Bennett says.