Rotorua retailers are being put out of pocket by hundreds of thefts a year and figures show it's only getting worse.

But one dairy owner says while he can deal with the thefts, the aggravated burglaries caused the most psychological damage and fear.

There were 2418 retail thefts were recorded by police in Rotorua between July 2014 and the April 2017. Monday is the most common day, typically between 1pm and 5pm.

Meanwhile, over the same period there were 121 reported aggravated robberies in the city.


Nearly a quarter (23.14 per cent) of these happened in Kuirau, from Ohinemutu, down to Old Taupo Rd and along Pererika and Eruera Sts. The most common times for aggravated robberies is on Saturdays and Sundays at 10pm.

The figures come from an in-depth look at crime data, led by Herald Insights.

Sunset Pricecutter Superette owner Milesh Kumar has been in the dairy business for 17 years and in the Sunset Rd store for the last 10.

"It [thefts] are definitely getting worse, we've noticed it over the last three years.

"The thefts we can deal with, they're part of any business, but it's the aggravated theft that creates the psychological damage and makes us feel unsafe at work," he said.

"We need to change the culture and teach our youth that these things are not good for anybody."

24 Jun, 2017 6:00am
4 minutes to read

Addiction Streetwear owner Pauline Clark said on average her store had a theft every month.

"It comes and goes. There will be a big spurt of thefts and you think 'my god, it's getting worse' but then it will calm down. It's definitely worse during the holiday seasons.

"It's a mix of opportunists and people who steal as a profession. Some do the grab and run while others are more sneaky and go round the store hiding items under their arm, under their shirt, that kind of thing."

Mrs Clark said they did not report every missing item to police so believed the total number of retail thefts in Rotorua would be much higher than what the data suggested.

"When you find a security tag in the pocket of another item or an empty coathanger, there's not much you can do.

"We have security cameras and will occasionally post pictures of the thieves on Facebook, but we can't do that every time because going back through the video is very time consuming."

She said every theft impacted her business.

"We're not a big corporation that can just absorb the loss. We take a hit every time something is stolen, it hurts. They're stealing right from my own back pocket."

Mrs Clark said while she did not have an exact figure, she estimated to have lost thousands of dollars from theft in the last two and a half years.

"It's a constant issue, we're always talking to the staff about constantly being vigilant when people are in the store.

"For this to improve the penalty has to be worse. At the moment there are no consequences. Particularly for the teenagers, they get a slap on the wrist then they're back doing it the next week."

Inner City Focus Group spokesman Mike Steiner said theft was part of the job.

"It's something you know will happen, so we have to be as diligent as we possibly can. It doesn't matter how many precautions you put in place."

Bay of Plenty police district prevention manager Inspector Steve Bullock said the difficulty had been the increase in violence.

"Shoplifting can range from a young person stealing a chocolate bar to a planned theft of trolley loads of food," he said.

"The increase in violence adds a complexity for us, as soon as it turns violent or there's a risk to public safety that becomes a different kettle of fish."

Mr Bullock said there would be difficulty determining the exact nature of theft because many stores had a shrinkage policy in place for missing items.

To explore the crime data in your area, go to Herald Insights.