New Zealand dairies need a redesign to stop them from being targeted by thieves, says an Auckland city planner.
On Tuesday night, a mother and her adult son were violently attacked at Hylite Dairy on Great North Road in Grey Lynn. A man armed with a knife waited for customers to leave the store before stabbing the two victims.
Auckland design champion and general manager of the Auckland Design Office at Auckland Council Ludo Campbell-Reid told The AM Show on Thursday it's time for the Government, the police, councils and the public to "see what we can do together" to solve the issue of dairy attacks.
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"It's pretty upsetting really and it is unacceptable levels of violence. [Dairies] are trying to sell our children lollies, a pint of milk and some bread, but they have to sit there for the majority of their day with a baseball bat behind the counter waiting to be attacked," he said.
"The first thing we have to do if we want to tackle this issue properly is decide that this is unacceptable. People, often immigrants, come to New Zealand to make a better life for themselves and I don't think they should be living like this."
Sadly, the attack on Tuesday wasn't the first this year. In February, a dairy owner in northwest Auckland was hit with a wrench when three men burst into his store.
In another attack on March 14, a father of two needed 30 stiches for head injuries after a machete and axe-wielding duo attacked him at his Hamilton dairy. Just four days later, three teenagers robbed a dairy in Hamilton with hammers, stealing cash and tobacco.
Some dairy owners have gone to extreme lengths to protect themselves. After being brutally attacked with a machete, Hamilton dairy owner Sandip Patel installed a cage at the front entrance so he can vet his customers before they enter - and now eight other dairies have done the same.
"It's a really complex issue, said Mr Campbell-Reid. He emphasised the need to move cigarettes in dairies to a move secure area so they're not targeted by thieves. At the moment cigarettes are kept right behind the shop owner, which puts them in danger.
As an urban designer and city planner, Mr Campbell-Reid said he tries to think like criminal to prevent criminal action from happening in Auckland. Thieves are often looking for a "quick buck", he said - they're in and out, they don't want to be seen and don't want to be disturbed.
To make dairies safer, Mr Campbell-Reid says dairies need to open and up and be more visible to the public instead of being hidden behind posters. All the advertising plastered over dairies creates this dark space behind the windows so people can't see you," he said.
"We need to move to a point where we open up the dairies and get the cages down and we open the windows - the way dairies used to be in the old days. You could see the produce and the shop owner," said Mr Campbell-Red.
"We need to take down the advertising, move the signs, open up the dairies, and then you'll be able to see this interaction between inside and outside the shops."