Dairy owners call for crackdown on youth offending

Dairy owners call for crackdown on youth offending

A community of south Auckland shop owners is calling on the Government to crack down on youth offending. They want harsher penalties to deter young criminals in what is causing shop workers to live in constant fear.

CCTV footage shows another shop robbery committed by teens aged 14 and 15.

"So frightening and my mind just froze at that time," says store owner and victim Anna Zheng.

This time, it was a central Auckland liquor store where bottles of whiskey, the whole cash register and more than 60 packets of cigarettes were brazenly stolen.

"I'm quite worried about it actually, because that kind of incident happens everywhere, you know," says Ms Zheng.

Ms Zheng says she wouldn't be surprised if the youths were put up to the robbery by adults because the penalties aren't so harsh for under-17s.

It's this kind of offending, which is becoming more and more common, that's sparked today's meeting in south Auckland and petition calling for action.

"They keep doing the same thing. They need to be actually taken very seriously and hard punishment against them," says meeting organiser Daljitt Singh.

Sarabjet Singh wants to see harsher laws and outcomes for youth offenders. He was stabbed while working at his south Auckland shop.

"Law is too soft. [If the] law is hard, no crime," he says.

More and more shop owners are putting up steel barriers inside their stores.

"Whenever they go to work in the morning they're not sure whether when they come back in the evening they will be safe, or not," says Mr Singh.

For Ms Zheng, she has no choice but to work -- it's her way of life -- but she's swears to never work in the shop alone again.