After being slashed with a machete in a brutal robbery, a Hamilton dairy owner has installed a metal cage at the entrance to his shop.
Earlier this month Emm Jay Dairy owner Sandip Patel was left with a fractured skull and a gash to the head after an attack with a machete by two mask-wearing robbers, who also had an axe.
This week Patel installed the cage with a magnetic door so he can screen those entering his dairy in Hamilton East.
"The attack was very scary," Patel said.
Patel's nephew Purak Patel said a customer had entered the shop in Hamilton East after the assault and called for help. Purak said the robbers fled the scene with cash from the till and cigarettes.
Two men, aged 16 and 17, have since been arrested in relation to the incident.
It was the second robbery at the dairy in six months, after a midnight ram-raid in November, but one of many in Hamilton this year.
Since the attack there had been a greater police presence in the area, but the locking cage doors would make him and his customers feel more safe, Patel said.
"Now if somebody comes along with their hood up or a bandanna I will ask them to take it off before I let them in, otherwise they can go somewhere else."
The doors will lock automatically after two seconds.
"This is a very good system for me, makes me feel more comfortable, and good for customers too. They say they will feel more safe too."
Parkwood Supervalue owner Manish Thakkar, who organised a meeting of about 100 Waikato dairy owners, supported Patel's new venture but said he may lose some customers who might be intimidated by the security measures.
"It is another option but it's not that cheap. People expect that dairies should be open all the time and he might lose customers because they will feel offended like, 'why, we are good people, why are we being treated like this?'"
There were up to eight other Hamilton dairy owners who were now in the process of also getting the security system installed.
"Everyone has contacted me, 'yes Manish we are going to do this thing as well' ... customers might not like it but we've got no choice nowadays, eh. I'm also thinking about having it in my Sandwich Rd shop."
He said the cage system cost about $8000 to $9000.
In Auckland, Avondale's Coffee and Gems has security bars on its shop.
Owner Louise Brinsden said it wasn't uncommon for jewellery stores to install security gates but it was for the safety of not only her staff but also her customers.
She sympathised with dairy owners and said they might notice a lull in customer numbers initially but they should come back.
"I don't blame the dairy owners... why should they not be able to protect themselves?"
A police spokeswoman said police worked closely with store owners, industry support groups and other agencies.
However, crime prevention was something that everybody could help with.
"The businesses being targeted for these crimes are part of our community, they provide an important service. We should all be taking an interest in their wellbeing and supporting them to be safe.
"Police cannot do it on our own."
REDUCE THE ROBBERY RISK
• Improve visibility in the store,
• Make items of high value harder to access, such as keeping cigarettes,
• Install low cost deterrents such as CCTV and audible alarms,
• Get local police to tailor advice to your specific circumstances.