Retailers in North Canterbury say they don’t know how much more they can take due to constant burglaries and crime in the area.
Businesses and community leaders are set to meet later this month to figure out what they can do to tackle the problem.
Rangiora clothing store Propaganda suffered a break-in during the early hours last Boxing Day, ahead of what was one of the busiest days of the year.
Owners Jamie and Jess Guest said about $10,000 worth of stock was taken.
Jess Guest said the burglary left them devastated.
“We’ve got four young kids so for them to wake up on Boxing Day morning and Dad’s not there and Mum is stressed.
“They didn’t understand what was going on.
“For a week after, you just feel really unsettled, like is it going to happen again.”
The store has applied for a fog cannon subsidy through the government’s crime prevention fund, which received a $9 million dollar boost last month.
Due to frequent shoplifting, the couple have had to fork out for alarmed tags, security cameras and additional security measures.
“It’s all come at quite a big cost, when you were losing quite a bit daily as well.
“You have to weigh up what’s worth it, additional security to stop the stuff walking out the door.”
In Kaiapoi, a technology and vape store was broken into twice in one week in March.
The store’s Auckland-based owner Nephi Hatcher said little was taken, but a staff member was anxious.
“They think it’s getting worse, especially because it happened recently.
“We’ve been open for nearly eight years in Kaiapoi and we’ve never had any issues, not until this post-Covid era.”
A total of 978 attempted break-ins, burglaries and thefts were reported in the Waimakariri district in the six months ending March, according to police data.
There has been a 63 percent increase in this category of offending over the past year in the district.
A man was arrested last month following a series of aggravated robberies in Canterbury, including one at Rangiora’s ANZ Bank.
A community-funded CCTV scheme was introduced four years ago in Canterbury’s Hurunui district after a spate of burglaries and car thefts.
National’s Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey said something similar could work further south.
“It acts as a deterrent because people know that cameras are around.
“But equally when there is some retail crime, they’re able to track the offenders, either through number plate recognition or understanding where these people are.
“I think we could look at a wider rollout of that.”
He described the level of raids and robberies at local businesses as “unprecedented” and becoming increasingly brazen.
Waimakariri businesses RNZ spoke to were largely supportive of more CCTV cameras in the area.
A police spokesperson said CCTV played an important role in helping police gather evidence, identify suspects, and prevent crime and disorder.
“We know that CCTV provides a level of reassurance for the community, acts as a deterrent, and is a valuable source of information when activity happens in the camera’s field of view.
“Even so, CCTV remains just one part of our overall response to crime and crime prevention.”
A Waimakariri crime prevention meeting is due to be held on the 22 May.