Police to take on aggravated robberies with taskforces and cash rewards
Police have announced a new national campaign aimed at stopping the recent spate of dairy robberies.
The month-long campaign - There's nothing good about stolen goods - includes cash inducements to dob in robbers and going after people who sell or receive stolen goods.
Nationally, 587 aggravated robberies were reported between January and February this year, compared with 486 during the same period in 2016.
In Auckland alone since February, 68 people have been arrested for aggravated robberies across Auckland.
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Police Commissioner Mike Bush said police were "deeply concerned" about the recent rise of violent robberies across the country - particularly in south Auckland.
"The campaign we're announcing today provides us with another tool to tackle aggravated robberies," he said.
More police will be out on the streets, and new robbery-specific taskforces have been established.
Bush said by targeting those who profit from these robberies by selling stolen alcohol and cigarettes, police hope to make a "serious dent" in the reason the crimes are committed.
The campaign comes days after a machete was held to a man's throat in the brutal aggravated robbery of Kingsford Superette in Mangere.
CCTV footage of the attack showed four men - aged 15, 17, 18 and 20 - entering the south Auckland dairy, knocking a man to the ground, punching him and holding the machete to his throat.
One south Auckland dairy owner, who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of being targeted by thieves, said he had stopped allowing his wife and children in his store due to the risk of robberies.
"I know many of the dairy owners who have been robbed around here recently and it is just not safe," he said.
He said the high price of cigarettes was behind "most of the the robberies," stolen to sell on the black market.
Earlier this month, a group of dairy owners met with police and lawmakers to express their fear and frustration.
The Indian Association of NZ and the Crime Prevention Group formed a list of demands: asking for an increase in police patrolling, reopening closed police stations, recognising shop owners' rights to defend themselves, and bringing in heavy penalties for resellers of stolen goods.
As part of its announced campaign, police are offering cash rewards for any information provided to Crimestoppers which leads to a successful arrest.
Police are also running a series of targeted social media ads encouraging people to call Crimestoppers if they have any information on stolen goods.
The campaign and reward offer run until the end of June.
Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555 111.