Hamilton's desperate dairy owners are appealing to the Police Commissioner to urgently provide every one of their shops with fog cannons.
Hamilton shop owners are fearing for their safety after two of their peers were brutally assaulted with weapons as thieves stole cigarettes and cash from them earlier this month, which are the latest in a spate of robberies.
Parkwood SuperValue owner Manish Thakkar said the newly set up group representing superettes, liquor stores and service stations in Hamilton and the outskirts had sent Police Commissioner Mike Bush a list of 85 retailers who wanted the fog cannons, asking him to make the Waikato a priority.
Shop owners were keen to try anything as they worried about whether the next person who entered their stores would steal or hurt them.
A fog cannon releases up to 700 cubic metres of fog within 60 seconds, making it difficult for a burglar to see, and providing confusion.
"We don't know how helpful it will be, but it's definitely better than nothing," Thakkar said.
The group has also asked Hamilton East Labour MP Jamie Strange to get the Government to supply every store with a cigarette vending machine and increase community patrols.
Hamilton East National MP David Bennett has been working with the dairy owners and said he believed fog cannons were achievable in the short-term given there was increased funding available. He was unsure whether vending machines would stop dairy robberies because the thieves could find other items such as cash.
Bennett expected every retailer on the list would be assessed for the fog cannons, but said they had to meet a certain criteria to be eligible, which included looking at how many robberies there had been.
"There will be a reasonable number that meet that criteria."
Eligible shops have to pay just $250 for a $4000 fog cannon with the Government picking up the rest of the bill.
Under the revised Labour scheme, there was now funding available for 420 businesses and so far only 52 businesses have had the fog cannons installed. The trial initially targeted 100 of the most vulnerable stores.
Police confirmed last week that every district across the country including the Waikato had shops which met the criteria and which were being approached for subsidised fog cannons.