Auckland crime wave: Businesses call for more police

Source: 1News

Auckland business owners who have been repeatedly robbed are calling for an increase in police in the city, and for officers to be redeployed from the city's border checkpoints.

CCTV captured a violent break in at Mount Eden's Stop N Save Superette just after 3am on Friday.

The footage shows a group of men, some thought to be teenagers, pulling off a wooden board and smashing through a window.

Some of the men can be seen ripping open a cigarette cabinet, while others throw packets of chips out of the shattered window. At the same time, the liquor store next door was also robbed.

1News visited the store as owner Dave again boarded up a broken window. He said it was the fourth time the store had been robbed this lockdown.

“Mostly they target cigarettes but they take whatever they can," he said.

A group of men targeting the Stop N Save Superette in Auckland.

The store’s manager, Malcolm, said there “is always another gang coming one after the other”.

“It's increased during this lockdown. There are a lot of robberies.”

The store had spent $15,000 upgrading security, including CCTV, replacing windows, and alarm systems.

But they were concerned police weren't able to respond fast enough.

“If they come half an hour later, by that time, they are gone," said Malcolm.

A group of men robbing the Stop N Save store in the Auckland CBD.

Other business owners who had also been robbed agreed.

"Sometimes the police don't come for two weeks," said Kalpesh Patel of Hilltop Superette, in Parnell.

ACT leader and Epsom MP David Seymour said people in his community “feel unsafe and lives are being put at risk”.

"The police are busy at the border, not protecting us in the city,” he said.

Local business associations had also seen a surge in crime during, and after, Covid-19 lockdowns.

"We're seeing bashings, we're seeing muggings, we're seeing robberies - endless robberies," said the Newmarket Business Association’s Mark Knoff-Thomas.

"Our local police are amazing; they do a fantastic job, but they are so stretched."

Auckland Central Area Commander Inspector Gary Davey said policing in the pandemic has been "extremely challenging".

"Police have had to redeploy staff to assist with both the checkpoints and MIQ facilities," he said.

Davey said while some of the staff were redeployed from the central city area, several officers have since returned.

"During December, police expect a gradual return of staff to the city who have been currently redeployed to support police’s Covid response.

"Throughout the pandemic we have had our full capacity of public safety teams."