On September 20, 2022, eight people targeted a retail store in Auckland, wearing masks and armed with blunt weapons. It has been classified as a case of smash and grabs, a notorious rising crime that has been making not only retailers scared but also everyday citizens.
One business owner has been vocal about this incident and is requesting more police visibility. The lack of authorities patrolling high-risk and important areas is very concerning, and it is about time that the government invests more resources when it comes to public safety.
What’s more alarming about this incident is that most of the suspects are teens or even underage. Despite the police getting their hand on the getaway vehicle, they have since then made zero progress when it comes to arresting anyone. Even though the robbery hasn’t injured anyone, the staffers of Stewart Dawson are traumatized and shaken.
There have also been multiple cases of smash and grab that have happened across Auckland, and what’s worse is that not every incident has been solved. It hurts small businesses a lot more if they are targeted as they are operating on a tight rope budget, so losing thousands of dollars within just a single day would be devastating.
Catherine Goodwin, a member of Mt Albert Business Association, has spoken with Morning Report about their thoughts on security and personnel. According to her, they are slowly losing faith in the justice system’s reach and also capabilities of protecting the citizens. Youth crime specifically has been on the rise, and the authorities are not doing anything to combat it. What’s more shocking about the recent case, according to Goodwin, is that it all happened fast and also during business hours.
According to Goodwin, the statistics that Stats NZ put out about youth appearances in court are very misleading. She says that not every case has been treated equally and that not all youth offenders are being walked through the process correctly; that’s why we see very few of them in court. Goodwin emphasized that it is not at all reduction, even if there are statistics involved, and it only shows how the system has been consistently incompetent in making someone accountable.
Goodwin suggested that the authorities take a proactive approach when it comes to dealing with the rising cases of smash and grab incidents. It would also apply to other crimes and would boost citizen confidence when it comes to public safety and security. Small and starting businesses are the most vulnerable ones because they are short on staff, and they are yet to get more funding when it comes to their store’s safety and security.