Auckland business owners should find it easier to install bollards in front of their shops to prevent ram-raids that have hit the headlines recently.
The NZ Herald can reveal Auckland Transport is streamlining the process for businesses to apply for bollards and other security measures in addition to working with police on how such measures can be used most effectively.
It comes after at least 45 children or teenagers have allegedly been behind eight crimes such as break-ins and ram raids reported over the school holidays.
Last week, the Herald reported how Sandringham Liquor Centre owner Andy Lim was now sleeping in his store after a string of burglaries and a ram-raid in the last six months.
"We have been talking to our business community and we know they are doing it really tough at the moment," Parking Services and Compliance group manager John Strawbridge said.
An Auckland Transport staff member had been dedicated to handling all applications and a senior member of its leadership team would oversee work with Auckland Council, police and business leaders on longer-term solutions including alternatives to bollards.
Auckland Transport would consider applications for bollards if a business had experienced ram-raiding or repeated vehicle accidents, Strawbridge said.
"Each application will be assessed on its merits and we'll work closely with businesses and business associations to reach the best solution for public safety."
Mayor Phil Goff said Auckland Council was investigating ways it could support businesses and communities following the recent spate of crime.
"Auckland Transport is now working with the National Retail Crimes Unit (NRCU) on the placement of bollards outside shops and will be running a workshop with business associations on this process and talking through crime prevention practices with the NRCU," he said.
Ōrākei Ward councillor Desley Simpson said one focus area was St Heliers, where work was currently being done to prevent antisocial behaviour.
Pacific Concrete Protection owner Greg Wiggins had installed bollards for a couple of years and referenced a spike in demand over that time.
He welcomed a more streamlined process, commenting on how complicated it had been in the past.
"Every time you'd pass one hurdle, [Auckland Transport] would give you another one to jump over."
While he supported business owners protecting themselves, Wiggins said widespread installation could have a negative impact on the atmosphere of the city.
"The biggest shame of it all is that the city's going to look like a bloody fortress."
To install bollards, an applicant must:
• Submit a written application, with details of the incident and either include a police report or insurance claim/recommendation.
• Provide a detailed plan, drawing or picture of the bollards they are wanting to install, with specific details of the location they are wanting to place the bollards.
• The landowner will be responsible for all costs associated with the installation, removal and ongoing maintenance; and they must keep the bollards in a good and safe condition.
• The applicant must undertake a proper footpath assessment to ensure the installation of bollards does not interfere or affect any underground utility services.
• Any work undertaken on the footpath must obtain a Corridor Access Request (CAR) permit before digging commences. Details of this process is available on our website: Corridor Access Requests (at.govt.nz)
• The landowner must also obtain and fully comply with any statutory consent requirements, such as building and/or resource consent – which may be required from Auckland Council.
• Auckland Transport reserves the right to withdraw its authorisation if it's determined the footpath site is required for future redevelopment projects. Should this eventuate, the property owner will be given a thirty-day (30 day) notification period to allow for the bollard/s to be removed.
General bollard requirements:
• Bollards should be installed directly outside the building. (within 500 millimetres of the building).
• The minimum height for bollards is 1000 millimetres.
• Bollards must have a colour contrast to the existing environment. For example, black is not considered a suitable contrast if the background is a dark colour.
• Footpaths need to have at minimum 1.8 metres clearance. Obstacles and hazards must be kept clear of the main travel route for pedestrians - especially for visually impaired (low vision) or blind pedestrians.