Detective says spike in ram-raids not just police issue, warns shop owners not to camp out in stores

A detective inspector says an increase in ram-raids, especially by young people, is not just a police issue and the wider community has a role to play as well.

It comes after multiple stores were ram-raided and robbed during the past week with police warning it's only a matter of time before someone dies.

On average there are 40 ram raids every month, and as raids become more common they are also becoming more daring.

Counties Manukau detective inspector Karen Bright told AM on Thursday the vast majority of offenders are teenagers.

"I can only talk to our own district (Manukau) and since October we've dealt with 60 offenders, 50 percent of those are 14 and under and just under 90 percent of them are under 17."

Bright said police take the issues very seriously but because the offenders are so young, they need the community's help.

"We treat them seriously, we do absolutely everything we can, we use a range of investigative tools and we really want to identify those responsible so that this offending does not continue."

She said around 42 percent of offenders in ram-raids are identified but she didn't give the details for how many were charged.

"When we've got 11-year-olds out in the middle of the night driving stolen cars and crashing into retail stores, there is a bigger problem out there. "There is a part that other people can play including social media, parents, the wider community, keeping these kids in school and people who are receiving these stolen goods. There's a lot of things that can be done and it's not just a police issue to solve."

Bright also warned shop owners not to camp out in their stores overnight or try to take matters into their own hands. Instead, she said bollards, CCTV and good security doors are much more effective.

"That would worry me, someone sleeping in the store with the risk of a car crashing into it. I understand why the retailers are so worried, this is their livelihood. And for what is actually being taken, the damage and the harm being done to their stores is huge so we absolutely understand and we are doing everything we can to address this issue."

Manukau Ward Councillor Alf Filipaina told AM parents have a big role to play in the issue.

"You've got not only the parents but also the extended whanau so it's a matter of getting them together. But it's also a matter of early intervention with our young ones, saying, 'This is not the pathway that you should be going'. There are other alternatives."

It comes after a store in Mount Roskill and a gas station in Titirangi were ram-raided on Tuesday night. On the same night on the other side of Auckland, the Mairangi Bay Dairy was also hit, with thieves stealing cash and vapes. Meanwhile down the country in Christchurch, a Thirsty Liquor storefront was completely smashed.

The Ormiston Town Centre Mall was also targeted on Monday night with thieves driving three stolen cars into the automatic doors before smashing into Postie Plus and Noel Leeming.