Crime: New police figures show average of two ram-raids a day for six month period

Crime continues to soar in New Zealand, with new police figures showing an average of two ram raids a day over a six-month period to start this year. 

Police figures released on Thursday showed there were at least 388 ram raid-style events in a six-month period to the end of May, including 99 which remained unsolved. This is an average of over two per day. 

Police said there were 218 prosecutions for ram raids, while 86 young people were referred to Police Youth Services, during the six-month period. 

Police recorded 516 ram raids across New Zealand in 2022. 

Figures previously released by the Ministry of Justice showed retail crime had shot up 39 percent between 2018 and 2022.

Commenting on the data, assistant commissioner iwi and communities Chris De Wattignar said retailers are better equipped, better advised, and are helping investigations.

The aftermath from a ram raid at a dairy on Long Drive in Auckland earlier this year.
The aftermath from a ram raid at a dairy on Long Drive in Auckland earlier this year. Photo credit: Newshub

De Wattignar said security interventions from the Police Retail Crime Prevention Program have helped foil offenders, while different technology has helped in catching offenders.

"There was an incident where offenders in a stolen car went to rob a store and the worker activated the emergency alarm and fog cannon so they were only able to grab some confectionary on their run back out the door," De Wattignar said.

"They drove to a subsequent store where they stole cigarettes but again fled once a fog cannon was activated. City CCTV then picked up the offenders and Police Eagle staff then used automatic number plate recognition cameras to provide commentary on the getaway vehicle, which was subsequently stopped by Police Dog Units and all four offenders were caught."

De Wattignar said as of last week, 472 stores, which had been previously ram-raided or victim or an aggravated robbery, had security intervention installations completed under the Retail Crime Prevention Programme, with another 159 approved. 

De Wattignar pointed to one success where burglars broke into a Michael Hill Jeweller store in Napier but left with nothing after discovering no jewellery was kept in the store at night. 

Public and police are "fed up with it" 

As crime continues to bubble away in Auckland, it has prompted an Auckland judge to say the public and the police "are fed up with it".

The comments came after a now 19-year-old was among a group of thieves who smashed their way into Harvey Norman in Westgate shortly after 11pm on May 2 last year with a Mazda Demio, stealing phones, tablets and Apple products from the shop. 

The group of thieves escaped in another vehicle before targeting Liquorland in Titirangi, using a Nissan Terrano to ram-raid the bottle shop, stealing spirits and beer.

The police ended up arresting the thieves a short time later. 

"The public are fed up with it, the police are fed up with it ... and people want tougher penalties for this type of crime," District Court Judge Ophir Cassidy said, according to NZ Herald.  

The two charges the 19-year-old faced carried a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison each, according to Judge Cassidy.

"Let that sink in. 10 years. There was huge damage caused to both properties. Thousands and thousands of dollars that you cannot afford to repay," she said. 

"People out in our communities and in the public are saying that they've had enough. They're saying the people that do these types of crimes should be thrown into prison.

"The public are fed up with it, the police are fed up with it ... and people want tougher penalties for this type of crime. You have hurt and caused harm to people."

The Government's taken several steps to try and address retail crime, including its scheme to subsidise stores to install bollards, fog cannons and other security measures.

Earlier this year, the Government pumped another $9 million into its small retail crime prevention programme.

Newshub asked Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni earlier this month just how bad the crime was in Auckland.

"Oh I wouldn't say it's bad at all," the Deputy Prime Minister said.

Police Minister Ginny Andersen said she does "not accept" the Government's record on crime is a "social and moral failure".

These comments came after a pair of hammer-wielding offenders stormed a dairy in Mt Roskill, injuring two people.