Multi million dollar package to tackle retail crime and reoffending

  • A multi million dollar package to tackle retail crime and reoffending is the most significant crime prevention financial package in recent memory 
  • New fog cannon subsidy scheme set up. Government to provide $4000 for all small shops and dairies in New Zealand who want a fog cannon installed, with shops to pay the balance
  • New $4 million fund to support local councils in Auckland, Hamilton and Bay of Plenty with crime prevention programmes
  • Existing $6 million Retail Crime Prevention fund eligibility expanded to include aggravated robberies, including those committed during the past 12 months

The Government has today announced a significantly extended package of measures to combat retail crime, with new initiatives to partner with small businesses and local councils.

“While youth crime is now much lower than in the past, the risks and harm from ram raids and other retail crime is concerning communities and creating victims,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

“Shop owners and workers feel targeted. That’s unacceptable.

“Police are having a noticeable impact on offending rates, with ram raids during November down by 83% compared with August – 13 so far this month against a high of 75 in August. But we need to lock that progress in and sustain it. 

“The initiatives we’re announcing today make this the most significant crime prevention financial package in recent memory. 

“It backs up Police actions, through funding to support crime prevention initiatives, such as better street lighting and cameras and by investing in more fog cannons.”

Fog cannon subsidy scheme

The Government will establish a new fog cannon subsidy scheme open to all small shops and dairies in New Zealand who want a fog cannon installed.

“Funding of $4000 will be available for each shop who will be able to have the fog cannon installed through an approved supplier, meaning they can access them directly without an onerous process. Additional details will be released shortly,” Jacinda Ardern said. 

Police Minister Chris Hipkins said this will be the first time the fog cannon and ram raid funds have operated at the same time.

“Despite global supply chain issues, Police has been successful in ordering an extra 455 fog cannons, which are expected to arrive before Christmas. This adds to the 270 fog cannons that are currently in the country and have been allocated to affected shops,” Chris Hipkins said.

“More challenging will be the time it takes to install them. The 1000 fog cannons that are already installed took four years, and despite Police doubling the number of local contractors that will do the work to six, it’s expected it will take till the second quarter of next year for the number of installations to start to ramp up.”     

The fog cannon fund was set up in 2017 after aggravated robberies of commercial premises had doubled from 2015 – from 599 to 1170.

“It was expanded in 2018 and 2019, and 1000 fog cannon were installed by the end of 2021.

Local crime prevention boost

“New funding of $4 million will be made available to local council to assist with crime prevention measures.  This will be made up of $2 million for Auckland Council, $1 million for Hamilton Council and $1 million for the councils in the Bay of Plenty to match on a dollar for dollar basis by Councils for local crime prevention measures.

“These partnerships are likely to be focused on Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) measures in geographic areas where small retailers are commonly targeted, such as street lighting, CCTV cameras and planters.

“Conversations have been had already between Police and government officials and Auckland Council, Hamilton Council and Bay of Plenty Councils to identify opportunities that can get started soon.

“We’re also announcing today that we will make funding available for all small shops and diaries to install fog cannons, adding to the 1000 that have already been installed as part of the fog cannon initiative.  

Extension of the Retail Crime Prevention Fund

“The $6 million Retail Crime Prevention Fund was set up for small shops and dairies in early 2022 as offending shifted to ram raiding. Today, we’re expanding eligibility to aggravated robbery committed over the last year.

“Police are making progress on the number of stores accessing the fund. More than 100 shops now have installations approved, with 431 security measures allocated and underway. This includes 93 fog cannons, 78 security sirens, 57 alarms, 63 CCTV systems, 43 bollards and 36 roller doors.

“We’ll also continue our work with repeat offenders and their families.”