Twenty-four dollars.

That's what it cost me for three small medallion cuts of, admittedly, some rather nice steak.

There were cheaper cuts, certainly. But not by much.

In fact the price of meat across the board is expensive.

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For those on average incomes and less, those nice cuts are pretty much off the menu. Twentyfour dollars is hard to justify on a tight family grocery budget. That in cheap mince will feed many more mouths. Even takeaways become a more realistic option.

For those really struggling, two-minute noodles and the poor dietary implications that brings, are the new saveloy soup. Meat is a luxury for many people.

As we have seen from the heavily-inflated price of tobacco products, when things become out of reach, crime goes up.

In most dairy and gas station robberies, cigarettes are the go-to item. Not to smoke, but to sell. There's a lucrative income to be had in black market tobacco.

Dairy owners, such as we have recently witnessed at Rangitikei Street, find comfort in having security cameras installed. Evidence supports some deterrent effect, but as we again witnessed at Z Dublin Street and the onesie robber, not all offenders are dissuaded.

As with cigarettes, crime has risen around illicit meat. Our rural dwellers are losing more stock to rustlers and poachers than before, and dealing with the increasing insecurity that follows.

Read more: Rural cameras help snap poachers in rural Whanganui

Here too crime cameras are being rolled out.

This week we reported that our rural communities are fighting back with an ever-expanding network of rural crime cameras.

Some of these cameras are sophisticated enough to hone in and identify number plates of vehicles, while others provide more general evidence.

The hills, as they are say, are not so much alive with the sound of music, but of the beady eye of electronic surveillance.

Let's hope it works.

But until meat is affordable again, we can only assume their effect will be limited.