The owner of a Rotorua jewellery store that was burgled this week says he feels sick after his two stores were targeted around a dozen times last year.
Rod Pearce owns both Rotorua Jewellers and Te Puke Jewellers and has been left "feeling numb" after a burglary overnight Wednesday - the second in about a month at the Rotorua store.
He said it had been a very distressing experience. He and
wife Jannine had received a call from a security company at about 2.45am on Thursday to say someone was smashing the shop window.
"Yes, they are reaching in, yes they are stealing jewellery."
The couple got dressed and drove from Te Puke to Rotorua to inspect the damage inflicted.
The burglar, who smashed the window with his scooter, caused between $2500 and $3000 in damage to steal a couple of hundred dollars' worth of watches.
Angry, tired and frustrated, Pearce said he and his wife were staying strong and doing the best they could.
"You can't get down because then you've let them win. You can't let them win."
Pearce said it took police about four minutes to get there.
Police said they searched the area but no offender was found and inquiries were ongoing.
Pearce said the last two years had been "unbelievable" with the number of burglary attempts at the two stores.
Last year was a record with about a dozen attempts, as well as a "significant robbery" at their own house.
There had already been four burglary attempts of stores this year.
"We're pretty numb about the whole thing, to be honest."
The previous robbery of about $80,000 of items was still being dealt with, he said. Jannine was counting receipts for all the stolen items to send to their insurance company.
As with the latest incident, CCTV had captured several of the crimes as they happened.
A recent incident in Te Puke involved five men trying to smash their way through the window.
They were seen on the town's cameras, and the person monitoring it was able to call the police before the offenders left.
"He hit the panic button .... they started smashing the doors in and heard the sirens and bailed."
But police had already set spikes up in the road and got one of the two vehicles.
Pearce said active monitoring of the CCTV made a significant difference and questioned why there was no overnight monitoring in Rotorua.
He said the police had been very supportive during the break-ins and needed all the help it could get: "I feel the justice system is frankly pathetic."
He said it was a council decision that stopped the cameras from being monitored overnight.
Rotorua Lakes Council's website says the Safe City Guardian team responds to more than 500 incidents a year. Most were identified using live CCTV footage.
"Continuous monitoring of live CCTV footage allows the Safe City team to respond to incidents as they are happening, making for a safer CBD for our community."
Kurt Williams, manager of community and regulatory services said CCTV continued to be monitored seven days a week.
Monitoring staff, as well as guardian patrols in vehicles and on foot, were rostered around identified trends in activity and seasons.
The Safe City Guardians had an ambassadorial and community safety role, with the latter being a focus on prevention and sharing information with the police.
"Community safety, including perceptions of safety, is a key priority for the council and additional funds are being invested annually into patrols, CCTV monitoring and other safety initiatives, as set out in the Long-term Plan 2021-31."
He said the guardians and monitoring staff played an "essential" role in deterring, de-escalating and reporting incidents and antisocial behaviour, along with interacting with businesses, residents and visitors, while maintaining close links with the police around crime.
Directly responding to crime was the role of the police but council staff collaborated with them.
"Safety patrols undertaken by our Guardians now extend beyond the CBD, we have introduced vehicle patrols and we are undertaking a phased expansion of our CCTV network to cover more parts of Rotorua, as part of our Community Safety Plan."
The Guardians and CCTV monitoring were funded through the council's operational budgets.
Since the end of 2018, the Guardians' numbers have been boosted by local security firm staff, funded by the council, increasing the team from four to 10. Two people had been added to the council monitoring team, taking it to four.
Pearce said the situation was difficult financially.
"We're just a family business. We sell gold and diamonds but we are not rich. We are just wage earners that own a business."
But they were determined to "not be down", he said.
A spokesperson from Justice Minister Kris Faafoi's office would not offer a comment in response, saying the decisions on sentencing and punishment sat with the judiciary.