Published: Wednesday 11 May 2022

Taranaki businesses holding their breath!

There's been an alarming spike in ram raids across NZ, and small businesses are often the victims. Stolen cars, in bulldozer like fashion, are driven through the front windows of businesses. Surprisingly and disturbingly, the offenders are often juveniles aged between 11 and 14.

Since the end of last year there's been an average of 15 to 20 ram raids per week according to the Dairy and Business Owners Group. Even the little butchery shop owned by the Mayor of Kawerau was targeted late last year, so it’s not just happening in South Auckland.

Previously ram raids were used to do a crash and grab of booze and cigarettes from petrol stations and dairies. However, the latest craze, dubbed a ram raid epidemic, sees young people wanting to maximize the damage to a property and posting their wanton destruction on social media, particularly TikTok.

Affected small businesses are being forced to install CCTV and erect bollards (if councils allow this) and having to pay the excess on their insurance - sometimes several times - is hurting them. It’s not unusual for a business to be targeted multiple times and often the damage to the premises costs far more than the value of the stolen goods.

In Taranaki we have been fortunate that this idiotic craze has not established itself so far, with only a couple of examples in the last few years. However we are starting to see some local businesses taking some precautions to stymie any local attacks. We need our community to be alert and support our police and business owners to make sure we don’t see this anti-social behaviour occur here.

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