At-risk retail businesses in Northland are keen to capitalise on a government subsidy to install fog cannons as an added security measure against being robbed.
Police Minister Stuart Nash has announced retailers, particularly dairy owners identified by police to be at risk of robberies, would fork out just $250 for a fog cannon while the Government picked up the rest of the $4000 tab.
The previous Government set aside $1.8 million for the installation of devices like audible alarms, fog cannons, and DNA spray on 50-50 cost share basis between the state and businesses.
However, Mr Nash said a 50 per cent contribution was beyond the reach of many so the Government has decided greater financial support was needed.
A fog cannon can cost up to $4000, a DNA spray system more than $3000 and it's about $1700 for an audible alarm. Most small to medium retailers in Northland rely on CCTV cameras but some already have fog machines installed.
A fog cannon releases up to 700cu m of fog within 60 seconds, making it almost impossible to see anything and is an effective deterrent as it creates an effective no-go
area for offenders.
They are unable to see anything inside the shop and cannot locate high value items. It also allows employees to retreat to a safe place and lessens the risk of being a target of wanton violence.
The new owner of Otaika Four Square, Murray Owles, said he was considering taking up the government offer which he said "could only help" in providing much-needed security for his staff and customers.
In March 2017, three men threatened staff in the store and made off with cash and tobacco.
"It's nice to see the Government taking action. I am considering taking up the offer after a full review of our security measures," said Mr Owles, who took over as the new owner last month.
He said robberies of small retail outlets were becoming all too frequent and extra security
measures were needed.
A Whangarei dairy owner who had been robbed twice in recent years said a cost of $250 was a good incentive to install a fog cannon.
"I've spent up to $4000 putting up CCTV cameras and that's all I have at the moment so I am keen to take up the government offer. The safety of my family is paramount for me,"
the man, who did not want to be named, said.
The former owner of Kingsway Dairy in Hikurangi who shut shop after 11 robberies in 14 years, said the government offer seemed too good to miss.
Northland Chamber of Commerce CEO, Tony Collins, said the offer of greater financial support was positive news from a safety point of view.
"There are a lot of family businesses and they'll want their families and workers to be safe," he said.