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'The judicial system has lost control'

After a smash-and-grab in a busy shopping center, an Auckland business owner wants funding for an active community patrol.

Police at St. Luke's Mall on Tuesday.

A group of up to eight people wearing masks and armed with batons targeted Stewart Dawson’s in Auckland’s St. Luke’s Mall late Tuesday afternoon, smashing glass cabinets, grabbing jewelry and fleeing to a parking lot. .

Witnesses told police that some of the attackers may have been children as young as eight.

The getaway car was found some distance from the mall, but police have yet to arrest anyone.

No one was injured in the attack, but the incident left staff upset and in tears.

Katherine Goodwin, a member of the Mount Albert Business Association, told The Morning Report that businesses are losing faith in the justice system’s ability to protect them.

Read more: Smash and Grab During a Serious Day at Oakland Mall

“We feel this shows that the judicial system has lost control, youth crime has intensified, and social services across multiple agencies are not functioning effectively.”

She said Tuesday’s incident was particularly shocking because the robbery took place during normal business hours.

Meanwhile, assaults in the Mount Albert area cost family businesses tens of thousands of dollars out of their pockets throughout the year, Goodwin said.

Goodwin said he was unconvinced by the recently released Stats NZ figures showing a decline in the number of young people appearing in court after 2021.

READ MORE: Record-low crime numbers do not paint the whole picture, minister says

“I think it’s because people haven’t gone through the process of appearing in court. It doesn’t look like there are any arrests expected. In fact, the system hasn’t completely solved youth crimes.

“I would never say that it is a reduction in youth crime, it is the fact that the system does not hold people accountable.”

Auckland Transportation (AT) responded to the increase in crashes by asking businesses and sites experiencing crashes or repeated vehicle crashes to apply to consider installing bollards.

Goodwin said the response was “ridiculous”. Landlords were pressured to pay for applications, installations, maintenance and security upgrades.

“Security grilles cost tens of thousands of dollars, and roller doors and bollards are similarly expensive.

“They require congressional consent and I have found that to be difficult, so on behalf of our landlords, people are making it as difficult as possible,” she said. rice field.

Goodwin said security facilities are a stark reminder of the divisions within the community and are unsightly and shouldn’t be necessary.

Instead, she called for a proactive funding approach to community policing.

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“Proactive security measures by local police are needed, and industry groups should have mechanisms through community patrols. Mount Albert is very active in that area, but it all depends on volunteers.

“These are initiatives that should be funded, so having a genuine walkabout community patrol would see this cut down as it is not a fragile business.”

Small businesses, such as dairy owners, are also facing higher operating costs for staffing as they can no longer run their businesses on their own, Goodwin said. .

Auckland Chamber of Commerce CEO Simon Bridges said businesses of all sizes are increasingly at risk of robbery and cannot rely on the police.

READ MORE: Four arrested after three robberies in Hawke’s Bay

He said a recent survey of businesses shows clear concern and a sense that no one is immune to citywide risk.

“There’s a growing real sense that the police are unwilling to keep them safe, so they’re using their own devices, whether it’s bollards, security, or many other costly security measures. must be used.”

Bridges said companies told him security measures like bollards were difficult and expensive to install.

Earlier this month, the government introduced a “better pathways” package to educate, train or put more young people into work to reduce youth crime.

Police Minister Chris Hipkins said the package was designed to prevent young people involved in crime from being further pushed into a life of adult crime, but it could not give harsher punishments across the board. .

rnz.co.nz

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