Footage shows shoplifters in action in Christchurch as businesses call for law review to help deal with crime

Eighty business owners across Christchurch are calling on the Government for an urgent response to the city's crime and anti-social behaviour, saying the focus is all on the North Island.

But the Government insists Christchurch is doing just fine.

Shoplifters were caught on camera in action this week in central Christchurch. Video footage shows the pair stealing more than $2000 worth of goods shoved into bags in just minutes from a Cashel Street pharmacy.

"And there's no consequences for them, they're literally getting a slap on the hand and 'don't do it again'," owner of Unichem Cashel Pharmacy and Christchurch Central City Business Association chair Annabel Turley said.

Now 80 businesses have written an open letter to the Government calling on them to act. 

"They're really worried and they're frustrated," chief executive of the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce Leeann Watson told Newshub. 

The letter claims there's been a "significant surge" in violence, crime and antisocial behaviour, which is impacting business, customers, cash flow and staff.

"They're scared to come to work, we're hearing from businesses that are having to put in additional security measures, a buddy system to walk people to and from the workplace," Watson said.

Business owners said the current laws aren't sufficient to deal with a growing problem of both crime and antisocial behaviour. The city's mayor has also written a letter to Government in support.

"The laws need to be reviewed so they can actually deal with the issue," Watson said.

The central city businesses said the Government's focus has been on Auckland, Hamilton and the Bay of Plenty, but it's overlooked things in Christchurch.

"I'm really interested to see why Christchurch hasn't had that same support. What we don't want to see is you have to meet a certain threshold of crime before you get that support," Watson said.

"We always get overlooked, we're like the poor cousin of the south," Turley said.

But the Government insists the garden city is blooming with police.

"In my view, Police in Canterbury are doing a good job of being present, visible, catching offenders and in providing advice to prevent crime," Police Minister Chris Hipkins told Newshub.

However, Turley said they aren't seeing an increase in police numbers.

But they said they are seeing an increase in crime.