The owner of a Bayfair retail store has "lost all faith" in the Government after his business was burgled multiple times.
He did not want to be named as he feared it would result in copycat behaviour - a line I've heard from a couple of other recently-targeted business owners lately.
What's more, Retail NZ's chief executive, Greg Harford, has heard suggestions that some working in the sector "could be trying to arm themselves" to protect their livelihoods.
That's the last thing anyone needs but it's not hard to see why businesses might be inclined to do this.
Last month, NZME reported councils in the region had received an increase in requests for bollards outside businesses but I do wonder just how effective these could be against the scumbags committing these crimes.
But it's not just ram raids plaguing the country, and there seems to me to be escalating public concerns about crime and gang activity.
In May, then Police Minister Poto Williams announced that $6 million from the Proceeds of Crime Fund would be invested in a crime prevention programme and said Aucklanders should "absolutely" expect a reduction in crime as a result.
The programme, managed by police, included solutions such as installing bollards or other protective structures, but new Police Minister Chris Hipkins was called on to defend it earlier this month.
RNZ reported on September 2 only five businesses had received security upgrades, and — due to the process for distributing the fund — nothing had yet been spent. Hipkins said he expected the programme to work up over the next month.
Meanwhile, analysis of police data revealed monthly victimisations hit 30,098 in May, compared to 23,559 in May 2019 and 22,435 in May 2018. In July 2014, the earliest month for which victimisation data is available, the figure was 20,544, NZME reported last month.
Police deployment and road policing assistant commissioner Bruce O'Brien said population growth from 4.5 million in 2014 to 5.1m today was part of the reason for the rise in victimisation. Another part was down to the fact it was now easier to report crime following the launch of the 105 non-emergency crime reporting phone line and online portal in 2019. Changes to the Family Violence Act that came into force in July 2019 were another factor that was likely to be increasing victimisation numbers, he said.
O'Brien rejected any suggestion the increase in reported crime reflected a general rise in the level of overall offending but acknowledged certain offences were increasing — namely family violence, retail crime and car theft.
What's a store owner to do? It's time to stop with the niceties and big promises and actually make a difference out there.
In my view, the Government has seemed inactive on law and order issues for most of this year, with the biggest development being the scalp of Williams as Police Minister a few months ago.
I do not believe we are seeing positive results yet.
There's a view among many that hard-line policing isn't the answer, and, in some ways I agree, especially when it comes to trying to stop gang recruitment.
But the current approach is clearly not working, with footage of robbers fleeing shoppers after raiding a jewellery store in St Lukes Mall this week in Auckland showing just how brazen criminals are getting.
It's time to knuckle down and show law-abiding citizens that those who follow the law will be respected and those who don't will have the book thrown at them because they deserve it.
It's either that or don't be surprised if a vigilante or two start masking up.