New Zealand jewelery retailers are being devastated by a crime wave that at first glance is brutal, but closer examination suggests it could be much more sophisticated and sinister.
Ram raids have increased by more than 500% in the first six months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2018, according to statistics from the New Zealand police. Many large retailers such as Michael Hill have been targeted by thieves on several occasions.
Jeweler was recently made aware of a jewelry retailer who has been targeted by thieves seven times in 18 months.
Although a ram raid can end quickly, the damage lasts much longer, with petrified staff members, rapidly rising insurance costs and a lack of victim support, three of many factors crippling businesses beyond the immediate financial loss.
Greg Harford, managing director of Retail New Zealand, said Jeweler that it was crucial for companies to implement effective security measures.
“Retail crime in New Zealand is truly out of control, with a massive increase in ram raids, smash and grabs and other criminal activity. Jewelry stores have been particularly targeted in recent weeks,” he said.
“Retail NZ is deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of employees and customers and businesses are working to review and improve safety.”
The median age of those identified or captured in 129 ram raids since May this year is believed to be just 15.
Government advises against harsh rhetoric
Police Minister Chris Hipkins told the New Zealand Herald there was no evidence showing an official link between the ram raids and adult gangs.
“Ironically, some of the opposition’s ‘tough on crime’ rhetoric would push these young offenders into gangs rather than away from them,” he added.
“Our government is focused on stepping up support and supervision, and wants to put these young people back on the path back to education or employment so they don’t end up in a life of crime.”
Not everyone agrees
According to New Zealand National Party spokesman Mark Mitchell, the criminal activity is much more complex than it appears.
“There’s no doubt that these young offenders are heavily influenced by adult gangs,” Mitchell said. To concentrate. “They’re well planned, they know exactly what they’re looking for, they execute it well and they have a getaway car ready to go.”
He added that some items are destined for overseas destinations: “Within hours they melt down the gold, they take out the diamonds and a market has been created for that through the adult gang network.”
North Shore MP Simon Watts joined Mitchell in his criticism of the current government’s approach to the current situation.
“The Minister of Police is in his Wellington bubble with his head in the sand, while Kiwis no longer feel safe in their homes, businesses and communities. Unaffected by crime and out of touch with the reality of what to what we’re up against,” he said. the New Zealand Herald.
“He needs to take the lead, take responsibility and start delivering proper results to keep Kiwis safe. We need to support our police and give them the resources they need.”
New Zealand Police encourage anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers anonymously.
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